, or dihydroxycholecalciferol, is an active synthetic form of Vitamin D
that enables the body to absorb greater amounts of calcium
and phosphate from the kidneys
and gastrointestinal tract. It aids
the body in making the most of the calcium coming from ingested food and other supplements, as well as stimulates the release of calcium and phosphate that are stored in the bones
Calcitriol belongs to a group of drugs classified as vitamins. It is usually indicated for patients who are undergoing chronic renal dialysis for kidney disease; hypoparathyroidism
, a condition characterized by a decreased function of the parathyroid glands
(glands in the neck which control calcium levels in the blood), and hypocalcemia, which causes nerve
and muscle spasms due to low blood
Calcitriol is also used in the treatment of secondary hypoparathyroidism and metabolic bone
disease secondary to kidney failure
. People who have calcium deficiencies and those who suffer from bone diseases
can benefit from taking regular doses of Calcitriol. Those suffering from psoriasis
, a skin disease, are sometimes prescribed with a topical form of Calcitriol.
Other uses for Calcitriol include rickets
(a Vitamin D deficiency
in children characterized by a softening and weakening of the bones), osteomalacia
(soft and weakened bones due to adult Vitamin D deficiency), and familial hypopohosphatemia (inability of the body to metabolize Vitamin D). In come cases, it is also used to increase the calcium blood levels in premature infants.
Patients should inform their doctor if they are allergic to Calcitriol, or Vitamin D in other forms. Before starting Calcitriol, patients should likewise inform their doctor of any prescription or over-the-counter medication, including vitamin, mineral or herbal supplements they may be taking. This is to determine whether these may cause any adverse interactions when taken with Calcitriol.
People suffering from kidney
disease or any liver
ailment should tell their doctor, and also if they have recently undergone surgery. Women who are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or become pregnant during therapy should apprise their doctor of their condition. The FDA has classified Calcitriol under pregnancy category C, which means it is still not known whether it may harmful to the unborn baby. Breastfeeding mothers should refrain from breastfeeding while taking this medication.
There are some drugs which can result in ill effects when taken with Calcitriol. Some of these medications include digoxin
, a drug for congestive heart failure; antacids containing magnesium
, cholestyramine, which reduces blood cholesterol levels; orlistat
, a weight loss drug; thiazide diurectics, which reduce amount of water in the body, and mineral oil. Patients taking these medications are advised not to take Calcitriol, or to have a dosage adjustment and special medical monitoring during the course of treatment.
Calcitriol can cause some side effect during treatment. The primary adverse reaction is hypercalcaemia, a condition in which blood calcium levels are elevated. It is characterized in its early stages by nausea
, apathy, headaches
, sweating and frequent urination
Other rare but serious symptoms of Calcitriol include weakness, dry mouth
, muscle and bone pain, a metallic taste in the mouth, weight loss
, thirst, frequent or painful urination, changes in vision, fever
or chills, pale and fatty stools, jaundice, loss of libido, irregular heartbeat
, runny nose
, and breathing difficulties. Patients who experience these symptoms may have accumulated excessive calcium in their body and should call their doctor immediately.
Calcitriol comes in 0.25 mcg. light orange oval soft gel capsules, 0.5 mcg. dark orange oblong soft gel capsules, and a 1 mcg./ml. oral solution . It is distributed under the brand names Rocaltrol
(Abbot), and Decostriol.
Calcitriol should be taken according to the doctor’s directions, usually swallowed whole with a full glass of water, once a day or every other day. The exact dosage for Calcitriol suspension should be measured out using a measuring cup, dropper or spoon.
Calcitriol will achieve its optimum effect through a balanced diet containing the right amounts of calcium. If too much calcium is derived from food, the patient will start to experience some serious side effects. Too little calcium from food, on the other hand
, will result in canceling out the beneficial effects of Calcitriol.
Calcitriol has the following structural formula:
• Molecular formula of calcitriol is C27H44O3
• Chemical IUPAC Name is 5-[2-[1-(6-hydroxy-6-methyl-heptan-2-yl)-7a-methyl-2,3,3a,5,6,7-hexahydro-1H-inden- 4-ylidene]ethylidene]-4-methylidene-cyclohexane-1,3-diol
• Molecular weight is 416.636 g/mol
• Calcitriol available : 0.25mcg capsules, 0.5mcg capsules