Rocaltrol

Generic Name: Calcitriol

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Rocaltrol is a medicine used to treat low blood calcium levels in people whose kidneys or parathyroid glands (glands in the neck that release natural substances to control the amount of calcium in the blood) are not working normally. Rocaltrol is available in capsules and an oral suspension.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Rocaltrol is a form of vitamin D that regulates the amount of calcium circulating in the bloodstream by enhancing calcium absorption from the intestines.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What: By regulating the calcium levels in your blood, Rocaltrol may help prevent further bone disease.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Rocaltrol exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

    How do I know it is working?

    Your healthcare provider may perform tests to measure your blood calcium levels and check your bones.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    More common side effects may include: weakness, headache, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, constipation, muscle pain, bone pain, metallic taste, loss of appetite, abdominal (stomach area) pain, stomach ache.

    Less common side effects may include:

    High calcium and phosphorus levels, which could lead to serious health problems.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Rocaltrol if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    Do not take Rocaltrol if you have high levels of calcium or vitamin D in your blood.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Rocaltrol. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have kidney problems, already take calcium supplements or vitamin D, recently had surgery, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Dialysis Patients

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 0.25 micrograms (mcg) once a day. Your healthcare provider may adjust your dose as needed.

    Predialysis Patients

    Adults and children >3 years: The recommended starting dose is 0.25 mcg once a day.

    Children <3 years: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on his/her weight.

    Your healthcare provider may increase your or your child's dose as needed.

    Parathyroid Gland Disorder

    Adults and children: The recommended starting dose is 0.25 mcg once a day, in the morning. Your healthcare provider may increase your or your child's dose as needed.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Rocaltrol exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Rocaltrol without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    While taking Rocaltrol, you should have an adequate daily intake of calcium (at least 600 milligrams a day), as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not become dehydrated. Drink plenty of fluids while you are taking Rocaltrol.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Rocaltrol is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Rocaltrol with the following: calcium or vitamin D supplements, certain water pills (such as hydrochlorothiazide), cholestyramine, corticosteroids (such as prednisone), digoxin, ketoconazole, magnesium-containing products (such as antacids), phenobarbital, phenytoin, or phosphate-binding agents (such as sevelamer).

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Rocaltrol during pregnancy are unknown. Rocaltrol may be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Rocaltrol. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Rocaltrol, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature. Protect from light.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Kristen Dore, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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