calcitriol (Rocaltrol)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is calcitriol-oral, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Calcitriol is a synthetic (man-made) active form of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). It is used to treat and prevent low levels of calcium in the blood of patients who have kidney disease or problems with their parathyroid gland, the gland that controls the amount of calcium in blood through its secretion of parathyroid hormone.

Calcium plays an important role in maintaining bone health, and low levels of calcium may cause bone disease. Calcitriol increases blood levels of calcium by increasing the absorption of calcium in the kidneys, increasing the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the intestine, and increasing the release of calcium and phosphorus from the bones. Calcitriol helps the body to use calcium found in foods and supplements.

What brand names are available for calcitriol-oral?

Rocaltrol

Is calcitriol-oral available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for calcitriol-oral?

Yes

What are the side effects of calcitriol-oral?

WARNING

Excessive vitamin D may lead to hypercalcemia (abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood), hypercalciuria (elevated levels of calcium in the urine), hyperphosphatemia (high levels of phosphate in the blood), and bone disease. To avoid complications, vitamin D and its derivatives should be avoided during calcitriol therapy.

Hypercalcemia has been reported in patients treated with calcitriol. Patients should avoid making any sudden changes in their dietary calcium intake and maintain adequate intake of fluid (hydration) during treatment.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/7/2015

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