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Cholecalciferol

Generic Name: cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) (KOE le kal SIF e role)
Brand Name: Carlson D, Ddrops, Decara, Enfamil D-Vi-Sol, Replesta, Thera-D 2000, UpSpringbaby D, Vitamin D3, Vitamin D3, ...show all 28 brand names

Medically reviewed on Jul 16, 2018

What is cholecalciferol?

Cholecalciferol is vitamin D3. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium.

Cholecalciferol is used as a dietary supplement in people who do not get enough vitamin D in their diets to maintain adequate health.

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

Important Information

You should not take cholecalciferol if you have had an allergic reaction to vitamin D, or if you have high levels of calcium or vitamin D in your body, or any condition that makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients from food (malabsorption).

Before taking this medicine

You should not use cholecalciferol if you have had an allergic reaction to vitamin D, or if you have:

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

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

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

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • heart disease;

  • kidney disease; or

  • an electrolyte imbalance.

Certain forms of cholecalciferol may contain ingredients you should know about, such as peanut or soybean oil, sugar, aspartame (phenylalanine), or certain food dyes. Ask a doctor before using cholecalciferol if you have allergies, diabetes, or phenylketonuria (PKU).

Too much vitamin D could harm an unborn baby or a nursing baby. Ask a doctor before using cholecalciferol if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Your dose needs may be different during pregnancy or while you are nursing.

Do not give cholecalciferol to a child without medical advice. Your child's dose will depend on age, weight, diet, and other factors.

How should I take cholecalciferol?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use only the recommended dose of cholecalciferol.

It may be best to take cholecalciferol after a meal, but you may take this medicine with or without food.

Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

The chewable tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.

To take a disintegrating (Quick-Melt) tablet, place it on your tongue and do not swallow the tablet whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing. If desired, you may drink liquid to help swallow the dissolved tablet.

The cholecalciferol wafer is usually taken only once per week or once per month. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully. The wafer must be chewed before you swallow it.

While using cholecalciferol, you will need frequent blood tests. You may also need x-rays.

Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with this medicine.

Cholecalciferol may be only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes dietary changes and taking calcium and vitamin supplements. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.

Learn about the foods you should eat to make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Your cholecalciferol dose may need to be adjusted as you make changes to your diet.

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

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

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 nausea, loss of appetite, thirst, urinating more or less than usual, body aches, stiffness, confusion, or irregular heartbeats.

What should I avoid while taking cholecalciferol?

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before taking any multivitamins, mineral supplements, or antacids while you are taking cholecalciferol.

Cholecalciferol side effects

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

Stop taking cholecalciferol and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • chest pain, feeling short of breath;

  • growth problems (in a child taking cholecalciferol); or

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

Less serious side effects may be more likely, and you may have none at all.

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.

Cholecalciferol dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Vitamin D Insufficiency:

600 to 2,000 international units, orally, once a day
Maximum dose: 4,000 international units per day

Usual Adult Dose for Vitamin D Deficiency:

Initial dose:
50,000 international units, once a week, for 8 weeks
or
6,000 international units, once a day, for 8 weeks
Maintenance dose: 1,500 to 2,000 international units, once a day
Maximum dose: 10,000 international units per day

Comments:
-Target blood levels above 30 ng/mL of 25(OH)D.

Usual Adult Dose for Prevention of Falls:

800 international units, orally, once a day
-1,500 to 2,000 international units, once a day, may be needed to achieve blood levels of 25(OH)D above 30 ng/mL.

Usual Geriatric Dose for Prevention of Fractures:

Over 70 years: 800 to 2,000 international units, orally, once a day

Usual Pediatric Dose for Vitamin D Insufficiency:

0 to 12 months: 400 international units once a day
1 to 18 years: 600 international units once a day

Maximum dose:
-Up to 6 months: 1,000 international units per day
-7 months to 1 year: 1,500 international units per day
-1 to 3 years: 2,500 international units per day
-4 to 8 years: 3,000 international units per day
-9 years and older: 4,000 international units per day

Usual Pediatric Dose for Vitamin D Deficiency:

-Up to 1 year old: 2,000 international units, orally, once a day, for 6 weeks
or
50,000 international units, once a week, for 6 weeks
Maintenance dose: 400 to 1,000 international units per day

-1 to 18 years: 2,000 international units, orally, once a day for at least 6 weeks
or
50,000 international units, once a week, for at least 6 weeks
Maintenance dose: 600 to 1,000 international units per day

Maximum dose:
-Up to 1 year: 2,000 international units per day
-1 to 18 years: 4,000 international units per day

Comments:
-Target blood levels above 30 ng/mL of 25(OH)D.

What other drugs will affect cholecalciferol?

Certain medications can make it harder for your body to absorb vitamin D. If you take other medications, take them at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after you take cholecalciferol.

Other drugs may affect cholecalciferol, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.