ergocalciferol

Pronunciation

Generic Name: ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) (ER goe kal SIF e role)
Brand Name: Calcidol, Calciferol, Drisdol, Vitamin D2

What is ergocalciferol?

Ergocalciferol is vitamin D2. Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium from the stomach and for the functioning of calcium in the body.

Ergocalciferol is used to treat hypoparathyroidism (decreased functioning of the parathyroid glands).

Ergocalciferol is also used to treat rickets (softening of the bones caused by vitamin D deficiency) or low levels of phosphate in the blood (hypophosphatemia).

Ergocalciferol may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about ergocalciferol?

Do not use this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to vitamin D, or if you have high levels of calcium or vitamin D in your blood, or if you have any condition that makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients from food (malabsorption).

Before you take this medication, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs or dyes, or if you have heart disease, coronary artery disease, kidney disease, or an electrolyte imbalance.

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Do not take other vitamin or mineral supplements unless your doctor has told you to.

Avoid using calcium supplements or antacids without your doctor's advice. Use only the specific type of supplement or antacid your doctor recommends. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of vitamin D can cause serious or life-threatening side effects.

Overdose symptoms may include headache, weakness, drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, constipation, muscle or bone pain, metallic taste in the mouth, weight loss, itchy skin, changes in heart rate, loss of interest in sex, confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior, feeling unusually hot, severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, or fainting.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking ergocalciferol?

Do not use this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to vitamin D, or if you have:

  • high levels of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia);

  • high levels of vitamin D in your body (hypervitaminosis D); or

  • any condition that makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients from food (malabsorption).

To make sure you can safely take ergocalciferol, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • heart disease;

  • coronary artery disease;

  • kidney disease; or

  • an electrolyte imbalance.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether ergocalciferol will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

Ergocalciferol can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take ergocalciferol?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood will need to be tested often. You may also need x-rays. Visit your doctor regularly.

Ergocalciferol is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include other medications and a special diet. It is very important to follow the medication and diet plan created for you by your doctor or nutrition counselor. You should become very familiar with the list of foods you must eat or avoid to help control your condition.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of vitamin D can cause serious or life-threatening side effects.

Overdose symptoms may include headache, weakness, drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, constipation, muscle or bone pain, metallic taste in the mouth, weight loss, itchy skin, changes in heart rate, loss of interest in sex, confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior, feeling unusually hot, severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, or fainting.

What should I avoid while taking ergocalciferol?

Do not take other vitamin or mineral supplements unless your doctor has told you to.

Avoid using calcium supplements or antacids without your doctor's advice. Use only the specific type of supplement or antacid your doctor recommends.

Ergocalciferol side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • thinking problems, changes in behavior, feeling irritable;

  • urinating more than usual;

  • chest pain, feeling short of breath; or

  • early signs of vitamin D overdose (weakness, metallic taste in your mouth, weight loss, muscle or bone pain, constipation, nausea, and vomiting).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Ergocalciferol Dosing Information

Usual Adult Dose for Hypocalcemia:

50,000 to 200,000 units orally or IM once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Hypoparathyroidism:

25,000 to 200,000 units orally or IM once a day. Should be given with calcium supplementation.

Usual Adult Dose for Familial Hypophosphatemia:

Oral or IM:
250 to 1500 mcg/day (10,000 to 60,000 international units) with phosphate supplements

Usual Adult Dose for Osteomalacia:

2000 to 5000 units orally once a day. In patients with malabsorption of vitamin D, the dose is 10,000 units IM once a day or 10,000 to 300,000 units orally once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Renal Osteodystrophy:

20,000 units orally or IM once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Vitamin D Deficiency:

1000 units orally once a day. In patients with malabsorption of vitamin D, the dose is 10,000 units IM once a day or 10,000 to 100,000 units orally once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Rickets:

Oral or IM
Vitamin D-dependent rickets (in addition to calcium supplementation): 250 mcg to 1.5 mg/day (10,000 to 60,000 international units); doses as high as 12.5 mg/day may be necessary

Nutritional rickets:
Adults with Normal Absorption: 25 to 125 mg/day (1,000 to 5,000 international units) for 6 to 12 weeks

Adults with Malabsorption: 250 to 7500 mcg/day (10,000 to 300,000 international units)

Usual Adult Dose for Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation:

400 units orally once a day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation:

Oral:
Dietary Supplementation for Prevention of Vitamin D Deficiency:
Dietary Intake Reference (DIR) (1997 National Academy of Science Recommendations): Neonates, and Children: 200 international units/day.
(Note: DIR is under review as of March 2009)

Alternative dosing:
1 Month to 12 years (Wagner, 2008): 10 mcg/day (400 international units/day)

Less than 38 weeks gestational age: 10 to 20 mcg/day (400 to 800 international units), up to 750 mcg/day (30,000 international units)

1 Month to 1 Year Fully or Partially Breastfed: 10 mcg/day (400 international units/day) beginning in the first few days of life. Continue supplementation until infant is weaned to greater than or equal to 1,000 mL/day or 1 qt/day of vitamin D-fortified formula or whole milk (after 12 months of age)

Nonbreast-fed infants, older children ingesting less than 1,000 mL of vitamin D-fortified formula or milk: 10 mcg/day (400 international units/day)

Children with increased risk of vitamin D deficiency (chronic fat malabsorption, maintained on chronic antiseizure medications): Higher doses may be required. Laboratory testing (25(OH)D, PTH, bone mineral status) should be used to evaluate.

Adolescents without adequate intake: 10 mcg/day (400 international units/day)

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypoparathyroidism:

50,000 to 200,000 units orally or IM once a day. Should be given with calcium supplementation.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Osteomalacia:

1000 to 5000 units orally once a day. In patients with malabsorption of vitamin D, the dose is 10,000 units IM once a day or 10,000 to 25,000 units orally once a day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Renal Osteodystrophy:

4000 to 40,000 units orally or IM once a day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Rickets:

Oral or IM:
Vitamin D-dependent rickets (in addition to calcium supplementation):

Less than 1 month: 25 mcg/day (1,000 international units) for 2 to 3 months; once radiologic evidence of healing is observed, dose should be decreased to 10 mcg/day (400 international units/day).

1 to 12 months: 25 to 125 mcg/day (1,000 to 5,000 international units) for 2 to 3 months; once radiologic evidence of healing is observed, dose should be decreased to 10 mcg/day (400 international units/day).

Greater than 12 months: 125 to 250 mcg/day (5,000 to 10,000 international units) for 2 to 3 months; once radiologic evidence of healing is observed, dose should be decreased to 10 mcg/day (400 international units/day).

Nutritional rickets:
Children (with normal absorption): 25 to 125 mcg/day (1,000 to 5,000 international units) for 6 to 12 weeks.

Children with malabsorption: 250 to 625 mcg/day (10,000 to 25,000 international units).

Usual Pediatric Dose for Familial Hypophosphatemia:

Oral or IM:
Initial: 1000 to 2000 mcg/day (40,000 to 80,000 international units) with phosphate supplements. Daily dosage is increased at 3 to 4 month intervals in 250 to 500 mcg (10,000 to 20,000 international units) increments.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Vitamin D Deficiency:

Vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency associated with CKD (stages 2-5, 5D): serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) level less than 30 ng/mL:

Serum 25(OH)D level 16 to 30 ng/mL: Children: 2000 international units/day for 3 months or 50,000 international units every month for 3 months.

Serum 25(OH)D level 5 to 15 ng/mL: Children: 4000 international units/day for 12 weeks or 50,000 international units every other week for 12 weeks.

Serum 25(OH)D level less than 5 ng/mL: Children: 8000 international units/day for 4 weeks then 4000 international units/day for 2 months for total therapy of 3 months or 50,000 international units/week for 4 weeks followed by 50,000 international units 2 times/month for a total therapy of 3 months.

Maintenance dose [once repletion accomplished; serum 25(OH)D level greater than 30 ng/mL]: 200 to 1000 international units/day.
Dosage adjustment: Monitor 25(OH)D, corrected total calcium and phosphorus levels 1 month following initiation of therapy, every 3 months during therapy and with any Vitamin D dose change.

Prevention and treatment of vitamin D Deficiency in cystic fibrosis:

Infants less than 1 year: 400 international units/day.

Children greater than 1 year: 400 to 800 international units/day.

What other drugs will affect ergocalciferol?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • sucralfate (Carafate);

  • mineral oil (sometimes taken as a laxative);

  • seizure medication;

  • steroids (prednisone and others);

  • digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin); or

  • a diuretic (water pill) such as chlorothiazide (Diuril), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDiuril, Hyzaar, Lopressor HCT, Vasoretic, Zestoretic), chlorthalidone (Hygroton, Thalitone), indapamide (Lozol), metolazone (Mykrox, Zaroxolyn), and others.

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with ergocalciferol. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about ergocalciferol.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.02. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.

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