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Paricalcitol Information

written by: Victoria Trix•edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 8/25/2009

Paricalcitol is also known by the brand name Zemplar, and is used to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism that is commonly found with CKD or chronic kidney disease, according to Drugs.com.

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    Indications

    Zemplar or paricalcitol is used for treating a chronic kidney disease side effect known as secondary hyperparathyroidism, stages 3 and 4. This medication is actually a capsulated form of vitamin D, which is used to replace the vitamin that the kidneys no longer create. When kidneys break down, it causes other problems such as thyroid disorders, and calcium and vitamin D deficiencies. This medication is not the same as other vitamins that can be bought over the counter.

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    Dosing Information

    Dosage is prescribed by a physician, based on physical standings at the time of prescription. The overall health and reaction to therapy will decide changes in dosage. Each dose should be taken at the same time daily, with or without food and with an entire glass of water. This medication should not be refrigerated, but stored at room temperature only.

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    Contraindications

    Elevated blood levels of calcium and vitamin D, or allergies to any of the ingredients would be causes for a patient to not use this medication. Paricalcitol is only used in patients who have lowered blood levels of vitamin D and calcium, as too much of either of these could cause calcium in the urine and even some bone diseases.

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    Drug Interactions

    According to WebMD.com drug interactions for paricalcitol include herbal products, corticosteroids, digoxin, liver enzyme medications, azole antifungals, phosphate binders, clarithrymycin, HIV protease inhibitors, thiazide diuretics, nefazodone and vitamin D or calcium. Any of these medications can cause side effects in your medication. Medicines that decrease the absorption of vitamin D include cholestyramine, colestipol, mineral oil and orlistat. Each of these medications should be taken 2 hours prior to or after your paricalcitol to keep from interfering with efficacy.

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    Side Effects of Paricalcitol

    Side effects can include an allergic reaction, back pains and chest pain, fever, flue, infections and headache as well as pain and viral infections or stomach pains. Bone pain, constipation, dry mouth, headache and nausea or vomiting along with metallic taste, muscle pains, sleeplessness and weakness are associated with overdose of vitamin D. Anorexia or loss of appetite, nasal infection, light sensitivity and itchiness or eye infections are all signs of overdose and should be reported immediately.

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    Risks

    This medication is known to cross placental barriers in mammals, but no clinical studies have been done with pregnant women. It is not known at this time if it will affect an unborn child, but it is present and passable through breast milk to infants. This should be used during pregnancy only if the benefit to the mother outweighs the risk to the fetus. Too much of this medication over a long term period can cause hypercalcemia, or high blood calcium levels as well as high urine calcium levels and high blood phosphate levels. It is also known to suppress the parathyroid hormone.

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    Resources

    Drugs.com from the publication Paricalcitol publication date unknown.

    WebMD.com from the article Paricalcitol Oral publication date unknown.