What is calcitriol, 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?
Is calcitriol available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for calcitriol?
What are the side effects of calcitriol?
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.
Which drugs or supplements interact with calcitriol?
Calcitriol should not be used with other vitamin D products because of the increased risk of additive side effects and toxicity.
Cholestyramine (Questran), colestipol (Colestid), mineral oil, and orlistat (Alli, Xenical) may decrease the intestinal absorption of calcitriol. Separating the administration of these medications and calcitriol may prevent this interaction.
Phenytoin (Dilantin) and phenobarbital (Luminal) may reduce blood concentrations of calcitriol, decreasing treatment effectiveness. Higher doses of calcitriol may be necessary if these drugs are used together with calcitriol.
Thiazide diuretics may increase the blood levels of calcium. Since calcitriol also increases calcium levels, taking these two types of medications together may cause hypercalcemia (abnormally highly levels of calcium).
Magnesium containing medications (for example, antacids) should be avoided in patients undergoing chronic renal dialysis who are taking calcitriol. These patients are at high risk of experiencing hypermagnesemia (high blood levels of magnesium) as their kidneys are unable to remove adequate amounts of magnesium from the blood.
What is the dosage for calcitriol?
- The recommended initial oral dose for treating low calcium due to kidney dialysis is 0.25 mcg daily.
- The dose may be increased by 0.25 mcg daily every 4 to 8 weeks.
- Most patients respond to 0.5 to 1 mcg daily.
- The oral dose for treating hypoparathyroidism is 0.25 mcg to 2 mcg daily.
Is calcitriol safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of calcitriol treatment in pregnant women. Calcitriol should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the unborn baby.
Calcitriol may be excreted in human milk. Mothers should not breastfeed while taking calcitriol.
What else should I know about calcitriol?
What preparations of calcitriol are available?
- Oral liquid filled capsules: 0.25 and 0.5 mcg
- Oral solution: 1 mcg/ml
- Solution for injection: 1 and 2 mcg/ml
How should I keep calcitriol stored?
Calcitriol should be stored at room temperature, between 15 C and 30 C (59 F and 86 F). Protect from light.
Latest Digestion News
Daily Health News
Related Disease Conditions
Kidney (Renal) Failure
Kidney failure can occur from an acute event or a chronic condition or disease. Prerenal kidney failure is caused by blood loss, dehydration, or medication. Some of the renal causes of kidney failure include sepsis, medications, rhabdomyolysis, multiple myeloma, and acute glomerulonephritis. Post renal causes of kidney failure include bladder obstruction, prostate problems, tumors, or kidney stones.Treatment options included diet, medications, or dialysis.
Kidney Pain: Symptoms, Treatment, and Causes
Kidney pain has a variety of causes and symptoms. Infection, injury, trauma, bleeding disorders, kidney stones, and less common conditions may lead to kidney pain. Symptoms associated with kidney pain may include fever, vomiting, nausea, flank pain, and painful urination. Treatment of kidney pain depends on the cause of the pain.
Muscle cramps are involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscles that do not relax. Extremely common, any muscles that have voluntary control, including some organs, are subject to cramp. Since there is such variety in the types of muscle cramps that can occur, many causes and preventative medications are known. Stretching is the most common way to stop or prevent most muscle cramps.
Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales. There are several types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of psoriasis the patient has. Treatment of psoriasis may include creams, lotions, oral medications, injections and infusions of biologics, and light therapy. There is no cure for psoriasis.
Rickets is caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate. Infants and children who are exclusively breastfed, have dark skin, and infants born to mothers who are vitamin D deficient are most at risk for developing rickets. Symptoms and signs of rickets include bone pain, delayed teeth formation, short stature, skeletal deformities (bowlegs, abnormally shaped skull), and decreased muscle strength. Treatment of rickets depends upon the cause, but the first step usually involves correcting any abnormal levels of calcium, phosphate, or vitamin D with supplements.
Renal osteodystrophy is a bone disease. The kidneys fail to maintain required levels of phosphorous and calcium in the blood. Renal osteodystrophy is common in patients with kidney disease and affects dialysis patients. Diagnosis is performed with a blood sample, and in some cases a bone biopsy. Medication is the general treatment for renal osteodystrophy.
Is Psoriasis Contagious?
Psoriasis is an incurable skin disease that causes reddish patches of skin topped with a thick layer of dry silvery scales. Psoriasis cannot spread and is not contagious.
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
FDA Prescribing Information