What is calcium carbonate? Why is it used?

Most people know that calcium is needed for strong bones, but it's also needed to help blood vessels and muscles contract and expand, to send messages through the nervous system, and to secrete hormones and enzymes. This is the most abundant mineral in your body and makes up 1%-2% of adult human body weight. Over 99% of it is stored in bones and teeth with the rest stored in blood, muscle, and other tissues.

Bone is a living tissue that constantly breaks down and builds back up. Up until around the age of 30, consuming an adequate amount of calcium with enough physical activity ensures that your body builds more bone than it breaks down. The majority of adult bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and 20 in boys. After that, breakdown typically exceeds the amount of bone being built. For this reason, it's essential to maximize bone stores when it's still possible. The amount that you lose after age 30 will be impacted by genetics, ethnicity, physical activity level, sex hormone levels, diet, and gender. You can replace what you lose with the foods you eat and your activity level, but you can't increase how much you store. When bone mass drops and there is a deterioration of bone tissue, osteoporosis can occur. Osteoporosis causes bones to be susceptible to fractures. Depending on the severity of the damage, bones can break from a minor fall, or in severe cases, from sneezing.

What brand names are available for calcium carbonate?

Caltrate 600, Os-Cal 500, Tums Extra, Tums Chewy Delight, and Many Other Brands and Generics

Is calcium carbonate available as a generic drug?

Yes

Do I need a prescription for calcium carbonate?

No

What are the side effects of calcium carbonate?

Calcium products rarely cause an upset stomach. Common side effects owing to excessive intake and increased levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia) include:

Other side effect due to severe hypercalcemia may include:

Calcium supplements cause rebound stomach acidity.

QUESTION

What is another medical term for osteoporosis? See Answer

What is the dosage for calcium carbonate?

  • The usual recommended dose of calcium replacement is 1 to 1.2 g given daily in 2 or 4 divided doses with meals.
  • The dose for use as an antacid is 2 to 4 tablets per 24 hours not to exceed 7 g a day.

Which drugs or supplements interact with calcium carbonate?

: Calcium can make it difficult for the body to absorb certain medications. Calcium products bind to quinolone (for example, ciprofloxacin) and tetracycline (for example, Sumycin) antibiotics in the intestine and can prevent their absorption into the body. To prevent this interaction, doses of quinolone and tetracycline antibiotics should be separated by three or more hours from doses of calcium.

Calcium carbonate-containing products reduce acidity in the stomach. The reduction of acid decreases the absorption of iron from the intestine. Therefore, doses of calcium and iron should be separated by a several hours.

Calcium products also bind to sodium polystyrene sulfonate (Kayexalate, a drug used to treat high levels of potassium) in the intestine and, therefore, may interfere with the action of Kayexalate. Doses of Kayexalate and calcium products should be separated by several hours.

Is calcium carbonate safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

Use of calcium supplements during pregnancy appears to be safe, but such use should be done under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Calcium products appear in breast milk but are considered safe during breastfeeding.

Calcium supplements are safe when used by nursing mothers.

What else should I know about calcium carbonate?

What preparations of calcium carbonate are available?

Tablets Chewable: 500, 750, 1000, 1177 mg

How should I keep calcium carbonate stored?

Tablets should be stored at room temperature, 2 C and 25 C (36 F and 77 F).

SLIDESHOW

Osteoporosis Super-Foods for Strong Bones With Pictures See Slideshow

Summary

Calcium carbonate (Caltrate 600, Os-Cal 500, Tums Extra, Tums Chewy Delight, and Many Other Brands and Generics) is a prescription drug used as part of a regimen to prevent and treat osteoporosis in individuals with low levels of calcium in their diets and as an antacid for minor upset stomachs. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, storage, and patient safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.

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Medically Reviewed on 7/31/2019
References
Medically reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP; Board Certified Emergency Medicine

REFERENCE:

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