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- What is calcium salts, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for calcium salts?
- Is calcium salts available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for calcium salts?
- What are the uses for calcium salts?
- What are the side effects of calcium salts?
- What is the dosage for calcium salts?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with calcium salts?
- Is calcium salts safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about calcium salts?
What is calcium salts, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Calcium is an important mineral required for the proper functioning of many organs and tissues. Calcium is needed for the heart, skeletal muscles, and nervous system to work properly. Additionally, calcium plays an important role in blood coagulation (stops bleeding).
Our bones store calcium which can be released depending on our body's needs. Calcium is naturally found in many of the foods we eat. Calcium supplements are needed when we are unable to get enough calcium from the foods we eat.
Calcium is available in various forms as salts combined with other elements which differ in the amount of calcium they contain. Because of the various forms in which calcium exists, different formulations of calcium supplements are not interchangeable on an mg per mg basis; they do not contain the same amounts of calcium. In order to compare forms of calcium, elemental calcium (i.e., the amount of calcium excluding the other elements with which the calcium is combined) can be expressed in milliequivalents (mEq) or (mg) with 1 mEq equal to approximately 20 mg). Listed below are the commonly used calcium salts and their respective calcium content.
- Calcium acetate: 250 mg (12.5 mEq) per gram
- Calcium carbonate: 400 mg (20 mEq) per gram
- Calcium chloride: 270 mg (13.5 mEq) per gram
- Calcium citrate: 210 mg (10.5 mEq) per gram
- Calcium Glubionate: 64 mg (3.2 mEq) per gram
- Calcium gluconate: 93 mg (4.65 mEq) per gram
- Calcium lactate: 130 mg (6.5 mEq) per gram
What brand names are available for calcium salts?
Cal-Citrate, Cal-Lac, Calcionate, Calciquid, Calcitrate, Calcium Acetate, Calcium Chloride, Calciym Citrate, Calcium Gluceptate, Calcium Gluconate, Calcium Lactate, Calphosan, Calphron, Citracal, Citracal Liquitab, Citrus Calcium, Eliphos, Neo-Calglucon, Phos Cal, PhosLo, Phoslyra, Ridactate, Rolaids, Oysco, Oyster Shell, Tums
What are the uses for calcium salts?
- Calcium supplements are used in individuals who are unable to get enough calcium from their regular diet. Severe deficiency can result in low levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcemia).
- Calcium supplements are commonly used to prevent osteoporosis (bone loss).
- Injectable calcium may be used to treat patients in cardiac arrest or those with life threatening cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats).
- Injectable calcium may be used to treat severe hyperkalemia (abnormally high levels of blood potassium), or hypermagnesemia (abnormally high levels of blood magnesium).
- Calcium salts also are used as antacids.
What are the side effects of calcium salts?
Common side effects of calcium salts include:
Other side effects include:
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What is the dosage for calcium salts?
Doses of calcium supplements are different for different patients. Dosing depends on age, reason for taking the calcium, formulation used, and other patient specific factors.
General recommendations to prevent calcium deficiency are as follows:
- Adults ≥ 51 years of age1200 mg by mouth per day (range 1000-1500 mg per day)
- Postmenopausal women 1200 mg by mouth per day
- Adults 19-50 years of age 1000 mg by mouth per day
- Children and adolescents 9-18 years1300 mg by mouth per day
- Children 4-8 years of age 1000 mg by mouth per day
- Infants 6-12 months of age 200 to 260 mg by mouth per day (from all sources including breast milk, formula, and solid food)
- Neonates and infants < 6 months of age 200 mg by mouth per day (sources of calcium should only include breast milk, formula, or food)
Which drugs or supplements interact with calcium salts?
- Injectable calcium should be avoided in patients taking cardiac glycosides such as digoxin (Lanoxin) because the combination increases the risk for the development of arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms).
- Calcium salts may interfere with the absorption of oral phenytoin (Dilantin). Therefore, administration of phenytoin and calcium salts should be separated by at least 2 hours.
- Calcium salts also may interfere with the absorption of some antibiotics. Administration of tetracyclines or quinolone antibiotics and calcium salts should be separated by at least 2 hours.
- Calcium salts may decrease the absorption of thyroid hormones. Levothyroxine (Synthroid) and other thyroid hormones must be taken at least 4 hours before or after calcium supplements.
Is calcium salts safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Adequate intake of calcium is important to maintain a healthy pregnancy, and for the proper growth and development of the fetus. No evidence of harm has been reported with the normal daily intake of calcium within the recommended dose limits. All pregnant women should seek the advice of their doctor or pharmacists to ensure that their daily intake of calcium is adequate.
- Calcium supplementation is thought to be safe and effective when used during breastfeeding. Breast milk naturally contains calcium, and calcium supplementation does not have any significant effect on the amount of calcium normally found in human milk.
What else should I know about calcium salts?
What preparations of calcium salts are available?
- Calcium acetate oral capsules: 667 mg
- Calcium acetate oral solution: 667 mg/5 ml
- Calcium acetate oral tablets: 667 mg
- Calcium chloride solution for injection 10%
- Calcium citrate oral tablets: 200 and, 950 mg
- Calcium gluconate oral tablets: 50, 500, and 650 mg
- Calcium gluconate solution for injection: 10%
- Calcium carbonate oral tablets: 500, 750, and 1000 mg
How should I keep calcium salts stored?
- Tablets should be stored at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight. All medications should be kept away from children and pets.
REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information
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Indigestion (dyspepsia) can be caused by diseases or conditions that involve the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and also by some diseases and conditions that do not involve the GI tract. Indigestion can be a chronic condition in which the symptoms fluctuate infrequency and intensity. Signs and symptoms that accompany indigestion include:
- Upper abdominal pain
- Abdominal bloating and distention
- Feeling full after eating only a small portion of food
Home remedies, medication, and lifestyle changes can help relieve and cure indigestion and its associated symptoms.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a condition in which the acidified liquid contents of the stomach backs up into the esophagus. The symptoms of uncomplicated GERD are:
- regurgitation, and
Take the GERD QuizWho is at risk for developing GERD? Are you? Take this quiz to learn what GERD is, if you're at risk, and what you can do about it.
Heartburn (Reflux)Heartburn is a burning sensation experienced from acid reflux (GERD). Symptoms of heartburn include
- chest pain,
- burning in the throat,
- difficulty swallowing,
- the feeling of food sticking in the throat, and
- a burning feeling in the chest.
- dietary habits,
- lifestyle habits, and
- medical causes.
- lifestyle changes,
- OTC medication,
- prescription medication, and
Heartburn and Pregnancy
Heartburn during pregnancy is quite common. During pregnancy the lower esophageal sphincter muscle becomes weakened , which likely occurs due to the effect of the high levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy. Fortunately, this resolves after pregnancy. Management of heartburn during pregnancy are generally involves lifestyle changes and avoiding foods that promote heartburn, for example:
- Don't smoke
- Avoid tight clothing
- Eat small, frequent meals
- Chew gum
- Sip liquids
The effect of heartburn medications on the fetus is unknown, so it is best to check with your OB/GYN if you feel you need medication to treat heartburn.
HyperkalemiaHyperkalemia is an abnormally high level of potassium in the blood. Hyperkalemia symptoms include:
- tingling sensations, or
- muscle weakness.
Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is a syndrome in which a person's blood sugar is dangerously low. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at risk for this condition. There are other diseases that can cause a person's blood sugar levels to go too low, for example, pancreatitis, Cushing's syndrome, and pancreatic cancer. Symptoms and signs that your blood sugar levels are too low include:
- Intense hunger
If your blood sugars become too have the following nearby as a quick treatment.
- Table sugar
- Glucose tablets
Intestinal Gas (Belching, Bloating, Flatulence)
Gas (intestinal gas) means different things to different people. Everyone has gas and eliminates it by belching, burping, or farting (flatulence). Bloating or abdominal distension is a subjective feeling that the stomach is larger or fuller than normal. Belching or burping occurs when gas is expelled from the stomach out through the mouth. Flatulence or farting occurs when intestinal gas is passed from the anus.
Causes of belching or burping include
- drinking too rapidly,
- carbonated drinks,
- habit, and
- swallowing air.
Causes of bloating or distension include
- fluid within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and
Causes of gas or flatulence are diseases such as
- sugary foods and drinks,
- fruits and vegetables,
- starches (wheat, oats, corn, and potatoes),
- lactose intolerance,
- untreated celiac disease, and
Treatment for excessive intestinal gas depends on the cause.
OsteoporosisLearn about osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the loss of bone density, which leads to an increased risk of bone fracture. Unless one experiences a fracture, a person may have osteoporosis for decades without knowing it. Treatment for osteoporosis may involve medications that stop bone loss and increase bone strength and bone formation, as well as quitting smoking, regular exercise, cutting back on alcohol intake, and eating a calcium- and vitamin D-rich balanced diet.
Osteoporosis PictureThinning of the bones with reduction in bone mass due to depletion of calcium and bone protein. See a picture of Osteoporosis and learn more about the health topic.
Osteoporosis SlideshowOsteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and density. Osteoporosis causes symptoms of weak, thin, fragile bones. Learn the treatments and medications used to fight osteoporosis, as well as prevention tips.
Osteoporosis QuizWhat are the causes, symptoms, and risk factors of osteoporosis? Quiz yourself about vitamin deficiency, maintaining bone density, and preventing osteoporosis-related fractures.
Cardiac Arrest QuizTake the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Quiz. Learning about this potentially deadly condition may save a life.
Sudden Cardiac DeathSudden cardiac arrest is an unexpected, sudden death caused by sudden cardiac arrest (loss of heart function). Causes and risk factors of sudden cardiac arrest include (not inclusive):
- abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias),
- previous heart attack,
- coronary artery disease,
- high cholesterol,
- Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome,
- ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation after a heart attack,
- congenital heart defects,
- history of fainting,
- heart failure,
- diabetes, and
- drug abuse.
Super Foods for BonesWhat sweetener is loaded with calcium? These bone-building super foods can help stave off osteoporosis, and many of them will surprise you.