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What is this medication?

Calcitriol, Rocaltrol
Vitamin D analog

Calcitriol, Rocaltrol is indicated for treatment of hypoparathyroidism/pseudohypoparathyroidism and secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients with chronic kidney disease.

How does this medication work?

Calcitriol, Rocaltrol is the active form of vitamin D (1,25 hydroxyvitamin D3).  It binds to and activates the vitamin D receptor in the kidney, parathyroid gland, intestine, and bone, stimulating intestinal calcium transport and absorption. It reduces parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels and improves calcium and phosphate homeostasis by stimulating bone resorption of calcium and increasing renal tubular reabsorption of calcium.

How should I take this medication?

Oral: Initial: 0.25 mcg once daily (may adjust dose at 2- to 4-week intervals to achieve target calcium levels while avoiding hypercalcemia); range: 0.5 to 2 mcg/day.

Secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients with chronic kidney disease has more complex dosing.

How to Take:  Oral form may be administered without regard to food, but administer with meals to reduce GI problems. Intravenous therapy may be administered as a bolus dose through the catheter at the end of hemodialysis. Adequate calcium intake should be maintained during therapy; dietary phosphorous may need to be restricted.

What should I watch for while using this medication?

Before starting Calcitriol, Rocaltrol make sure your physician is aware of any allergies or medications you currently take, if you have kidney disease, or malabsorption syndrome.  Calcium levels must be monitored closely as excessive vitamin D may lead to over suppression of parathyroid hormone, hypercalcemia, hypercalciuria, hyperphosphatemia and adynamic bone disease. Chronic hypercalcemia can result in generalized vascular and soft tissue calcification, exacerbate nephrolithiasis, and has been associated with increased mortality in adults with chronic kidney disease.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of medication, try to take it as soon as possible.  However, if it is almost time for your next dose, take only that scheduled dose.  Do not take double or extra doses.

How should I store this medication?

Keep out of the reach of children at all times.  Store at room temperature, 59 to 86° F (15 to 30° C).  Protect from light.  Keep the container tightly closed.  Properly dispose of any unused medication after the expiration date.

What are the possible side effects of using this medication?

Hypercalcemia, headache, skin rash, polydipsia, nausea.

Note this is not an extensive list of side effects, only the most common ones.