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Zemplar Side Effects

Generic Name: paricalcitol

Note: This document contains side effect information about paricalcitol. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Zemplar.

In Summary

More frequent side effects include: arthritis, hypersensitivity reaction, and vertigo. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to paricalcitol: oral capsule liquid filled

Other dosage forms:

Along with its needed effects, paricalcitol (the active ingredient contained in Zemplar) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking paricalcitol:

More common
  • Blurred vision
  • cough or hoarseness
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fever or chills
  • headache
  • hives
  • itching
  • lower back or side pain
  • nervousness
  • pain
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pounding in the ears
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • swelling
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
Less common
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • abnormal growth filled with fluid or semisolid material
  • ammonia-like breath odor
  • anxiety
  • bladder pain
  • bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • burning, tingling, numbness or pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • cold sweats
  • coma
  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • cool, pale skin
  • decreased urine
  • depression
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • fainting
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • increase in heart rate
  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • irregular heartbeat
  • joint pain
  • lightheadedness
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle aches and pains
  • nausea or vomiting
  • nightmares
  • numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
  • pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
  • rapid breathing
  • rapid weight gain
  • runny nose
  • sensation of pins and needles
  • shakiness
  • shivering
  • slurred speech
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • stabbing pain
  • sunken eyes
  • sweating
  • thirst
  • trouble sleeping
  • troubled breathing
  • unusual weight gain or loss
  • weight loss
  • wrinkled skin
Incidence not known
  • Large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • slow or irregular breathing

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking paricalcitol:

Symptoms of overdose
  • Abdominal or stomach cramps
  • constipation
  • depression
  • high urine levels of calcium
  • incoherent speech
  • increased urination
  • metallic taste
  • muscle cramps in the hands, arms, feet, legs, or face
  • muscle weakness
  • tremor

Some side effects of paricalcitol may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common
  • Acid or sour stomach
  • back pain
  • belching
  • bloody nose
  • bruising
  • change in vision
  • cough producing mucus
  • difficulty with moving
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • heartburn
  • impaired vision
  • indigestion
  • lack or loss of strength
  • large, flat, blue, or purplish patches in the skin
  • leg cramps
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • pain, swelling, or redness in the joints
  • sensation of spinning
  • sores on the skin
  • stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
  • stuffy nose

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to paricalcitol: intravenous solution, oral capsule


The most common adverse events were nausea, diarrhea, and elevated calcium phosphate product.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (12.9%), diarrhea (11.5%)
Common (1% to 10%): Vomiting, constipation, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, abdominal discomfort, dry mouth, gastroenteritis, stomach discomfort, gastroesophageal reflux disease
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Rectal hemorrhage, colitis, gastritis, dyspepsia, dysphagia, abdominal pain, gastrointestinal disorder
Frequency not reported: Intestinal ischemia, gastrointestinal hemorrhage[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Elevated calcium phosphate product (12%)
Common (1% to 10%): Fluid overload, hypoglycemia, dehydration, hypercalcemia, hypocalcemia, decreased appetite, hyperphosphatemia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hyperkalemia, anorexia, thirst[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hypertension, hypotension, palpitations
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Cardiac arrest, arrhythmia, atrial flutter
Frequency not reported: Irregular heart rate[Ref]

Nervous system

Common (1% to 10%): Vertigo, dizziness, headache, syncope, dysgeusia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Coma, cerebrovascular accident, transient ischemic attack, myoclonus, hypoesthesia, paresthesia, gait disturbance
Frequency not reported: Unresponsive to stimuli[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Nasopharyngitis, pneumonia, influenza, oropharyngeal pain, sinusitis, cough
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Pulmonary edema, asthma, dyspnea, epistaxis, pharyngitis
Frequency not reported: Upper respiratory tract infection, orthopnea, wheezing[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Viral infection, edema, peritonitis, chills, pyrexia, pain, fatigue, peripheral edema, malaise, chest pain, fungal infection, infection
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Laboratory test abnormal, decreased weight, ear disorder, condition aggravated, asthenia
Frequency not reported: Phosphorous increased, ear discomfort, chest discomfort, feeling abnormal, swelling[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hypersensitivity
Postmarketing reports: Allergic reactions including rash, urticaria, and angioedema (including laryngeal edema)[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Rash, pruritus, skin ulcer, acne
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Urticaria, bullous dermatitis, alopecia, hirsutism, hyperhidrosis
Frequency not reported: Blister, night sweats, rash pruritic, skin burning sensation[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hypoparathyroidism
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hyperparathyroidism[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Urinary tract infection, breast tenderness
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Vaginal infection, breast pain, erectile dysfunction[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Chills, arthralgia, arthritis, back pain, muscle spasms
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Joint stiffness, muscle twitching, myalgia[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Renal failure chronic
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Blood creatinine increased[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Sepsis[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Insomnia, anxiety, depression
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Confusional state, delirium, depersonalization, agitation, nervousness
Frequency not reported: Restlessness[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Bleeding time prolonged, anemia, leukopenia, lymphadenopathy[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hepatic enzyme abnormal, increased aspartate aminotransferase
Frequency not reported: Alkaline phosphatase decreased[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Conjunctivitis, glaucoma
Frequency not reported: Ocular hyperemia[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Breast cancer[Ref]


Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Injection site pain
Frequency not reported: Injection site extravasation[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Zemplar (paricalcitol)." Abbott Pharmaceutical, Abbott Park, IL.

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

Some side effects of Zemplar may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

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.