Why is this medication prescribed?
Calcitriol is a form of vitamin D that keeps the amount of calcium in the blood from becoming too low (hypocalcemia). It also prevents bone disease in patients with kidney disease who regularly have dialysis.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Calcitriol comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It usually is taken once a day or once every other day in the morning. Your doctor may tell you to take it more or less often depending on the reason you are taking it. It may be taken with or without food. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take calcitriol exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking calcitriol,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to calcitriol, or have any other problems taking vitamin D or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially antacids, calcium supplements, cholestyramine (Questran), colestipol (Colestid), digoxin (Lanoxin), diuretics ('water pills'), and vitamins. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking antacids that contain magnesium.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney, heart, or blood vessel disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking calcitriol, call your doctor immediately.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Check with your doctor before using any vitamins. If your doctor prescribes a special diet or calcium supplements, follow these directions carefully. Drink plenty of fluids while taking calcitriol.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Although side effects from calcitriol are not common, they can occur. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- upset stomach
- dry mouth
- muscle pain
- bone pain
- metal taste
- increased thirst
- decreased appetite
- weight loss
- increased urination (especially at night)
- changes in vision
- changes in mental awareness
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison controlcenter at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsedor is not breathing, call local emergency services at911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to calcitriol.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.