This medication is used to prevent or treat low blood calcium levels in people who do not get enough calcium from their diets. It may be used to treat conditions caused by low calcium levels such as bone loss (osteoporosis), weak bones (osteomalacia/rickets), decreased activity of the parathyroid gland (hypoparathyroidism), and a certain muscle disease (latent tetany). It may also be used in certain patients to make sure they are getting enough calcium (e.g., women who are pregnant, nursing, or postmenopausal, people taking certain medications such as phenytoin, phenobarbital, or prednisone).
Calcium plays a very important role in the body. It is necessary for normal functioning of nerves, cells, muscle, and bone. If there is not enough calcium in the blood, then the body will take calcium from bones, thereby weakening bones. Having the right amount of calcium is important for building and keeping strong bones.
Take this medication by mouth with food. If your product contains calcium citrate, then it may be taken with or without food. Follow all directions on the product package, or take as directed by your doctor. For best absorption, if your daily dose is more than 600 milligrams, then divide your dose and space it throughout the day. If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
If you are using the chewable product, chew it well before swallowing.
If you are using the effervescent tablet, allow the tablet to fully dissolve in a glass of water before drinking it. Do not chew or swallow the tablet whole.
If you are using the liquid product or powder, measure the medication with a dose-measuring spoon or device to make sure you get the correct dose. Do not use a household spoon. If the liquid product is a suspension, shake the bottle well before each dose.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.
If your doctor has recommended that you follow a special diet, it is very important to follow the diet to get the most benefit from this medication and to prevent serious side effects. Do not take other supplements/vitamins unless ordered by your doctor.
If you think you may have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.
If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: nausea/vomiting, loss of appetite, unusual weight loss, mental/mood changes, bone/muscle pain, headache, increased thirst/urination, weakness, unusual tiredness.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
In the US -
Before taking calcium, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This product should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this product, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: high calcium levels (hypercalcemia).
If you have any of the following health problems, consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this product: kidney disease, kidney stones, little or no stomach acid (achlorhydria), heart disease, disease of the pancreas, a certain lung disease (sarcoidosis), difficulty absorbing nutrition from food (malabsorption syndrome).
Some sugar-free formulations of calcium may contain aspartame. If you have phenylketonuria (PKU) or any other condition that requires you to restrict your intake of aspartame (or phenylalanine), consult your doctor or pharmacist about using this drug safely.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication.
If you are taking this product under your doctor's direction, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.
Before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you use any of the following products: digoxin, cellulose sodium phosphate, certain phosphate binders (e.g., calcium acetate).
Calcium can decrease the absorption of other drugs such as bisphosphonates (e.g., alendronate), tetracycline antibiotics (e.g., doxycycline, minocycline), estramustine, levothyroxine, and quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin). Therefore, separate your doses of these medications as far as possible from your doses of calcium. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about how long you should wait between doses and for help finding a dosing schedule that will work with all your medications.
Check the labels on all your prescription and nonprescription/herbal products (e.g., antacids, vitamins) because they may contain calcium. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: nausea/vomiting, loss of appetite, mental/mood changes, headache, weakness, tiredness.
Foods rich in calcium include: dairy products (e.g., milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream), dark-green leafy vegetables (e.g., broccoli, spinach, bok choy), and calcium-fortified foods (e.g., orange juice).
Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium. Foods rich in vitamin D include: fortified dairy products, eggs, sardines, cod liver oil, chicken livers, and fatty fish. Vitamin D is also made by the body as a result of exposure to the sun.
Keep all regular medical and laboratory appointments. If your doctor has directed you to take this medication, laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., calcium levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. See packaging for the exact temperature range. If you have any questions about storage, ask your pharmacist. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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