Medical Professional Home Page About Rocaltrol About Chronic Kidney Disease hypoparathyroidism Important Safety Information
 
How is vitamin D involved in Chronic Kidney Disease?
In addition to removing wastes, your kidneys release calcitriol. Calcitriol is the active form of vitamin D, which helps maintain calcium and phosphorus for bones and for normal chemical balance in the body.

Vitamin D, which is obtained from exposure to the sun, food or vitamin supplements, must first be converted to its active form by the liver and the kidney before it fully regulates calcium and phosphorus metabolism at target tissues. Kidney disease interferes with generation of the biologically active form of vitamin D.

Given the reduced ability of failing kidneys to activate vitamin D, Rocaltrol (the synthetic form of calcitriol) may be needed to raise the serum calcium concentration and suppress parathyroid hormone secretion and therefore reduce the risk of metabolic bone disease (softening of bones as a result of renal failure).
References:
1. Rocaltrol [package insert]. Parsippany, NJ: Validus Pharmaceuticals; 2009.
2. Vitamin D. Medline Plus Web site. Available at: http://mplus.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-vitamind.html.
 
Full Prescribing Information for Rocaltrol

Important Safety Information for Rocaltrol® (calcitriol) Capsules and Oral solution
Rocaltrol should not be taken if there are symptoms of abnormally elevated vitamin D or calcium levels or if you are allergic to any product ingredient. Taking too much vitamin D can cause high calcium levels, which could trigger serious health problems and may require immediate medical attention. Dosage adjustments of Rocaltrol may be required if other medications are initiated or discontinued; do not stop taking other medications without your physician's knowledge. Potential side effects of Rocaltrol are, in general, similar to effects of taking too much vitamin D. Report early symptoms of elevated vitamin D or calcium including weakness, headache, somnolence, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, constipation, muscle or bone pain, metallic taste, and anorexia, abdominal pain or stomach ache, to your doctor.