This combination 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. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Having the right amounts of vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus 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 total 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 liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
If you are taking the chewable form of this medication, chew thoroughly before swallowing. If you are taking capsules, swallow each capsule whole.
Do not crush or chew extended-release tablets. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split the tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing.
Calcium supplements come in different forms that contain different amounts of calcium/vitamin D. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to help select the best product for you.
If you think you may have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.
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, change in the amount of urine, bone/muscle pain, headache, increased thirst, increased urination, weakness, tiredness, fast/pounding heartbeat.
In the US -
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other vitamin D products (such as calcitriol); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: high calcium/vitamin D levels (hypercalcemia/hypervitaminosis D), difficulty absorbing nutrition from food (malabsorption syndrome).
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: heart/blood vessel disease, kidney stones, kidney disease, certain immune system disorder (sarcoidosis), liver disease, certain bowel diseases (Crohn's disease, Whipple's disease), little or no stomach acid (achlorhydria), low levels of bile, untreated phosphate imbalance.
Chewable tablets may contain sugar or aspartame. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, phenylketonuria (PKU), or any other condition that requires you to limit/avoid these substances in your diet. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication. During pregnancy, doses of vitamin D greater than the recommended dietary allowance should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: digoxin, phosphate binders, thiazide diuretics (e.g., hydrochlorothiazide).
Calcium can decrease the absorption of other drugs such as tetracycline antibiotics (e.g., doxycycline, minocycline), bisphosphonates (e.g., alendronate), estramustine, levothyroxine, and quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin). Also, certain medications can decrease the absorption of vitamin D (bile acid sequestrants such as cholestyramine/colestipol, mineral oil, orlistat). Therefore, separate your doses of these medications as far as possible from your doses of calcium/vitamin D. 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, laxatives, vitamins) because they may contain calcium, phosphate, or vitamin D. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
Vitamin D is very similar to calcitriol. Do not use medications containing calcitriol while using vitamin D.
This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including cholesterol tests), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
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, drowsiness, weakness, tiredness.
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.
You can decrease the risk of bone disease by being physically active, not smoking, and avoiding the use of alcohol/caffeine.
Information last revised April 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
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