Generic Name: paricalcitol (PAR i KAL si tol)
Brand Names: Zemplar

What is Zemplar?

Zemplar is a man-made form of vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium from the stomach and for the functioning of calcium in the body.

Zemplar is used to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism (overactivity of the parathyroid gland) in people with chronic kidney failure. It works by blocking the formation and release of parathyroid hormone.

Zemplar may also be used for other purposes not listed here.

Important information

Do not use Zemplar 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.

Before taking Zemplar, tell your doctor if you have high blood pressure, liver disease, or an electrolyte imbalance.

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 your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

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While using Zemplar, you may need blood tests at your doctor's office. Visit your doctor regularly.

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.

Zemplar is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include a special diet. It is very important to follow the 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.

Before taking this medicine

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

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

  • high levels of vitamin D in your body (vitamin D toxicity).

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a Zemplar dose adjustment or special tests:

  • high blood pressure;

  • liver disease; or

  • an electrolyte imbalance.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Zemplar will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication. Your Zemplar dose needs may change if you are breast-feeding a baby. Do not use Zemplar without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

How should I take Zemplar?

Take Zemplar 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.

Zemplar is sometimes taken daily, and sometimes taken every other day. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.

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

You may take this medication with or without food.

While using Zemplar, you may need blood tests at your doctor's office. Visit your doctor regularly.

Zemplar is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include a special diet. It is very important to follow the 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, light, and heat.

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 if you think you have used too much Zemplar. An overdose of vitamin D can cause serious or life-threatening side effects.

Zemplar 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?

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.

Zemplar side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Zemplar: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop taking Zemplar and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;

  • chest pain, feeling short of breath;

  • feeling like you might pass out;

  • swelling, rapid weight gain;

  • pain or burning when you urinate;

  • dry mouth, drowsiness, increased urination, fast heart rate, feeling light-headed, fainting, or seizure (convulsions);

  • nausea, loss of appetite, increased thirst, muscle weakness, confusion, and feeling tired or restless;

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

Less serious Zemplar side effects may include:

  • dizziness, spinning sensation;

  • back pain, mild muscle or joint pain;

  • stomach pain, indigestion;

  • diarrhea;

  • sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose; or

  • mild itching or skin rash.

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)

What other drugs will affect Zemplar?

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

  • cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran);

  • conivaptan (Vaprisol);

  • digoxin (Lanoxin);

  • imatinib (Gleevec);

  • isoniazid (for treating tuberculosis);

  • an antibiotic such as clarithromycin (Biaxin), dalfopristin/quinupristin (Synercid), erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin), or telithromycin (Ketek);

  • antifungal medication such as clotrimazole (Mycelex Troche), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), or voriconazole (Vfend);

  • an antidepressant such as nefazodone;

  • heart or blood pressure medication such as diltiazem (Cartia, Cardizem), felodipine (Plendil), nifedipine (Nifedical, Procardia), verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan), and others; or

  • HIV/AIDS medicine such as atazanavir (Reyataz), delavirdine (Rescriptor), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), saquinavir (Invirase), or ritonavir (Norvir).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with Zemplar. 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 Zemplar.
  • 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 is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. 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. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.01. Revision Date: 03/10/2010 1:26:45 PM.

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