|Uses:||The uses of ALFACIP include:|
This belongs to the group of medicines known as vitamins.
Alfacalcidol is a form of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is necessary for healthy bones and teeth, and a healthy immune system.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It controls the absorption of calcium from the gut and is used to make bones. The body can make vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Deficiency is caused by inadequate exposure to sunlight and low consumption of foods containing Vitamin D. The best natural sources are found in oily fish (sardine, herring, salmon and tuna), liver, dairy products and egg yolks.
Long-term Vitamin D deficiency may cause low blood levels of calcium and phosphate, which results in the softening of the bones. In children this can cause abnormal bone development (rickets) and in adults it can cause osteoporosis, backache, muscle weakness, bone pain and fractures.
Alfacalcidol is used to treat Vitamin D deficiency and conditions where there is not enough calcium in the blood especially in patients who have kidney problems.
Alfacalcidol is also sometimes known as hydroxycholecalciferol. You may notice the use of either spelling on your container.
Alfacalcidol is available in capsule, oral drops and injection form.
It is also sometimes known as: One-Alpha. You may notice the use of any of these names on the packaging of your medicine.
How does it work?
When Vitamin D is ingested in the form usually present in the diet (or produced in the skin by the action of sunlight) it requires to be "activated" by a series of chemical steps before it has any effect in the body. An important action of Vitamin D is to increase the absorption of calcium in the food we eat and so to maintain calcium stores in the body. One step in the activation of the Vitamin takes place in the kidney and requires the presence of a hormone called parathyroid hormone (PTH). When PTH is lacking in the body (which is the case following parathyroidectomy) the kidney step cannot take place and calcium deficiency (hypocalcaemia) results. To get around this problem it is necessary to by-pass the kidney step by taking the "activated" form of Vitamin D which is Alfacalcidol. Alfacalcidol is therefore used to prevent Vitamin D deficiency and thus hypocalcaemia in people who have undergone the surgical removal of their parathyroid glands (parathyroidectomy).
How do I take it?
Alfacalcidol can be taken as a capsule or as a liquid for which purpose a measure/dispenser is provided. The individual dose is that required to maintain a normal level of calcium in the blood. It may be adjusted from time to time in response to blood test results. Most adults require to take between 1 microgram and 3 microgram Alfacalcidol daily in order to achieve initial control of their calcium level but the maintenance dose thereafter is normally in the range 0.25 microgram to 1 microgram per day. The dose is taken once a day and at any time of the day.