Calcitriol

Table of Contents

Calcitriol is a form of vitamin D3. Vitamin D serves to help your body absorb calcium. This type of drug can help treat overactive parathyroid glands (hyperparathyroidism) and metabolic bone disease in people who have chronic kidney failure and do not get dialysis.

Moreover, calcitriol also helps treat calcium deficiency in people with underactive parathyroid glands (hypoparathyroidism) caused by surgery, disease, or other conditions. 

Calcitriol may also be used for other purposes. For more detailed information, contact your doctor or pharmacist via Smarter Health.

Production of Calcitriol

Calcitriol is available for oral and intravenous use. Be sure to use calcitriol according to the dosage recommended by your doctor and follow the instructions on the drug label. 

Dosing Considerations for Calcitriol

Condition: Hypocalcemia

  • Initial oral dose for adults: 0.25 mcg once daily
  • Next dose for adults: 0.5 to 1 mcg orally once a day.
  • Initial intravenous dose for adults: 1 to 2 mcg (0.02 mcg / kg) through IV three times a week (about once every two days).
  • Next intravenous dose for adults: 0.5 to 4 mcg three times a week.
  • Initial oral dose for children: 0.25 mcg, orally, once daily.
  • Next oral dose for children: 0.5 to 1 mcg, orally, once daily.
  • Initial intravenous dose for children: 1 (0.02 mcg / kg) to 2 mcg, IV, three times a week (about once every two days).
  • Next intravenous dose for children: 0.5 to 4 mcg three times a week.

Condition: Renal Osteodystrophy

  • Initial oral dose for adults: 0.25 mcg once daily.
  • Next oral dose for adults: 0.5 to 1 mcg orally once a day.
  • Initial intravenous dose for adults: 1 to 2 mcg (0.02 mcg / kg) IV three times a week (about once every two days).
  • Next intravenous dose for adults: 0.5 to 4 mcg three times a week

Condition: Hypoparathyroidism

  • Initial dose for adults: 0.25 mcg. Take the medicine once daily in the morning.
  • Next dose for adults: 0.5 mcg to 2 mcg orally once a day.
  • Initial dose for children aged 1 to 5 years: 0.25 mcg orally, once daily in the morning.
  • Next dose for children aged 1 to 5 years: 0.25 mcg to 0.75 mcg, orally, once daily in the morning.
  • Initial dose for children >6 years: 0.25 mcg orally, once daily in the morning.
  • Next dose for children >6 years: 0.5 mcg to 2 mcg, orally, once daily in the morning.

Condition: Secondary Hyperparathyroidism

  • Initial dose for adults: 0.25 mcg once daily. Increase the dose to 0.5 mcg orally once a day if necessary.
  • Initial dose for children <3 years: 10 to 15 ng / kg / day orally.
  • Initial dose for children >3 years: 0.25 mcg once daily. Increase the dose to 0.5 mcg orally once a day if necessary.

Guidelines for Calcitriol

Below are guidelines for using oral calcitriol:

  • Use a syringe or a medicine spoon to make sure the dose is given in the right amount. 
  • Calcitriol injection is administered as an infusion into a vein. Your health care provider will give your first dose and may teach you how to use the medicine properly.
  • Follow all the instructions for use provided with your medicine. Only prepare an injection when you are ready to give it.
  • Do not use if the medicine has changed colors or has particles in it. Speak to your pharmacist for new medicine. 
  • It is recommended that you get frequent medical tests. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids, unless your doctor instructs you to restrict your fluid intake. 
  • You may need to follow a special diet while using calcitriol. Follow all directions from your doctor or dietitian. Learn about what foods to eat or avoid to control your condition.
  • Call your doctor if you experience vomiting or diarrhea, or if you are sweating more than usual. You can easily become dehydrated while taking calcitriol. This can lead to extremely low blood pressure, electrolyte imbalance, or kidney failure.
  • If you need major surgery or  will be on long-term bed rest, your doctor may change your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
  • Store the medicine at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. 

Calcitriol Function and Uses

Calcitriol are usually prescribed for the treatment of: 

  • Hypocalcemia.
  • Renal osteodystrophy.
  • Hypoparathyroidism.
  • Mild to moderate psoriasis.
  • Post menopausal osteoporosis.
  • Hyperparathyroidism secondary to moderate to severe chronic kidney disease.

Contraindications for Calcitriol

Calcitriol has specific contraindication situations in which the drug should not be used because it may be harmful to the person, such as:

This medicine contains calcitriol. Do not take Calcijex or Rocaltrol if you are allergic to calcitriol or any of the ingredients contained in this medicine. Keep out of reach of children. In case of an overdose, seek immediate medical attention. 

Calcitriol should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks.  In addition, calcitriol is also not recommended for use while breastfeeding, as the drug may pass into breast milk. Speak to your doctor before breast-feeding.

Below conditions are contraindicated with calcitriol:

  • Hypercalcemia or evidence of vitamin D toxicity.
  • Hypersensitivity to calcitriol, vitamin D analogues, or other ingredients.

Warnings

Before taking oral or intravenous calcitriol, pay attention to the following cautions:

  • Risk of hyperphosphatemia or hypercalciuria.
  • Excessive amounts of vitamin D in the body may suppress parathyroid hormone.
  • Watch out for malabsorption syndromes, kidney, or liver disorders.
  • Efficacy may not be predicted in patients with malabsorption syndrome.
  • Adequate dietary calcium supplementation is required for clinical response to vitamin D.

Side Effects of Calcitriol

The most common side effects of calcitriol include the following:

  • Apathy.
  • Psychosis.
  • Headache.
  • Heart arrhythmias.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Changes in behavior.
  • Muscle or bone pain.
  • Lower back pain.
  • Weight loss.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Stomach upset, diarrhea, or constipation.
  • Low sex drive (libido).
  • Eye sensitivity to light
  • High blood pressure or hypertension.
  • Dehydration or increased thirst.
  • High blood calcium or hypercalcemia.
  • Excessive nighttime urination
  • High cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia.
  • High core body temperature or hyperthermia.
  • High blood phosphate or hyperphosphatemia.
  • High blood magnesium or hypermagnesemia.
  • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine increase.
  • Severe pain in the upper abdomen that spreads to the back.
  • Urinating more than usual or changes in the amount of urine

Make an appointment with your doctor or pharmacist through Smarter Health to find out more about the recommended dosage for calcitriol and its proper use based on your condition. Smarter Health allows you to access health services whenever you need them.

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