Skip to Content

Rocaltrol Side Effects

Generic Name: calcitriol

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug calcitriol. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Rocaltrol.

In Summary

Common side effects of Rocaltrol include: increased serum creatinine, hypercalcemia, and hypercalciuria. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to calcitriol: oral capsules, oral solution, parenteral injection

Side effects include:

Excessive vitamin D intake (early manifestations): weakness, headache, somnolence, nausea, dry mouth, constipation, muscle or bone pain, metallic taste.

Excessive vitamin D intake (late manifestations): polyuria, polydipsia, anorexia, weight loss, nocturia, calcific conjunctivitis, pancreatitis, photophobia, rhinorrhea, pruritus, hyperthermia, decreased libido, elevated BUN, albuminuria, hypercholesterolemia, elevated AST, elevated ALT, ectopic calcification, nephrocalcinosis, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, dystrophy, sensory disturbances, dehydration, apathy, arrested growth, urinary tract infections.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to calcitriol: injectable solution, oral capsule, oral liquid


Early signs and symptoms of hypercalcemia include headache, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, metallic taste, constipation, abdominal cramps, dry mouth, weakness, fatigue, muscle and bone pain, ataxia, tinnitus, abdominal pain, and vertigo. Later hypercalcemia may result in pruritus, mental confusion, coma, elevated hepatic transaminase levels, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, metastatic calcification, and renal insufficiency manifested by polyuria, nocturia, polydipsia, and proteinuria and elevated BUN.

In one study, the incidence of hypercalcemia was lower (50% vs 80%) when calcitriol (the active ingredient contained in Rocaltrol) was administered at night as opposed to morning administration. Hypercalcemia also appears to occur more commonly in patients receiving intermittent vs. continuous therapy and in oral vs. intravenous therapy.

Patients with renal failure are more prone to the development of hypercalcemia because the urinary excretion of calcium cannot compensate for increases in serum calcium.

Increased phosphate absorption may be detrimental in patients with chronic renal failure and hyperphosphatemia.[Ref]

Metabolic side effects have included hypercalcemia and increased phosphate absorption.[Ref]


Hypersensitivity side effects have included rare cases of hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis. A single case of erythema multiform has been reported. Another case involving a single patient experiencing an allergic reaction including total body hives and swelling of the lips has also been reported.[Ref]


1. Maxwell DR, Benjamin DM, Donahay SL, Allen MK, Hamburger RJ, Luft FC "Calcitriol in dialysis patients." Clin Pharmacol Ther 23 (1978): 515-9

2. Tsukamoto Y, Mariyo R, Nomura Y, Sato N, Faugere MC, Malluche HH "Long-term effect of oral calcitriol pulse therapy on bone in hemodialysis patients." Bone 14 (1993): 421-5

3. Malluche HH, Faugere MC "Effects of 1,25(OH)2D3 administration on bone in patients with renal failure." Kidney Int Suppl 29 (1990): s48-53

4. Araugo OE, Flowers FP, Brown K "Vitamin D therapy in psoriasis." DICP 25 (1991): 835-9

5. Miller SM "New perspectives on vitamin D." Am J Med Technol 49 (1983): 27-37

6. "Product Information. Rocaltrol (calcitriol)." Roche Laboratories, Nutley, NJ.

7. Coburn JW "Use of oral and parenteral calcitriol in the treatment of renal osteodystrophy." Kidney Int Suppl 29 (1990): s54-61

8. Schaefer K, Umlauf E, von Herrath D "Reduced risk of hypercalcemia for hemodialysis patients by administering calcitriol at night." Am J Kidney Dis 19 (1992): 460-4

9. Arik N, Basoglu T, Sungur C, Adam B, Bedir A, Kandemir T, Coskun C, Bernay I "Hyperphosphatemia: A serious limiting factor preventing the possible benefit from intravenous calcitriol therapy." Nephron 82 (1999): 77-8

10. Mazess RB, Elangovan L "A review of intravenous versus oral vitamin D hormone therapy in hemodialysis patients." Clin Nephrol 59 (2003): 319-25

11. Herrmann P, Ritz E, Schmidt-Gayk H, Schafer I, Geyer J, Nonnast-Daniel B, Koch KM, Weber U, Horl W, Haas-Worle A, et al "Comparison of intermittent and continuous oral administration of calcitriol in dialysis patients: a randomized prospective trial." Nephron 67 (1994): 48-53

It is possible that some side effects of Rocaltrol may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

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. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. 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 substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.