Zemplar (paricalcitol)

Search by Drug or Product Name

Brand Name

Zemplar {Abbott}

Generic Name

paricalcitol, pronounced PAR i KAL si tol

What is Zemplar? Zemplar is used to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism, or an over activity of the parathyroid gland. This condition is common in people with chronic kidney failure. Zemplar helps by blocking the formation and release of your parathyroid hormone. As a man-made form of vitamin D Zemplar is important for the absorption of calcium from your stomach and for the functioning of calcium in your body.

Zemplar may also be used for purposes not indicated in this medication guide.


Key Facts About Zemplar

You should be careful not to take other vitamin or mineral supplements unless your doctor has told you to do so. You should not take additional calcium supplements or antacids without medical advice.

Zemplar is a part of a complete program of treatment that your doctor may have prescribed for you, which can include diet, exercise, and weight control.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Zemplar is in FDA pregnancy category C. Zemplar is not known to harm an unborn baby. You may have a need for an increased dose of Zemplar if you are pregnant. Talk to your doctor about your Zemplar intake. If you are breastfeeding you should ask your doctor about taking Zemplar. We do not know if Zemplar may affect a breastfeeding baby.


Before You Take Zemplar

If you are allergic tovitamin D, or if you have high levels of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia) or high levels of vitamin D in your body (vitamin D toxicity) you should not take Zemplar.

Before taking Zemplar, tell your doctor if you have ever had liver disease, or if you are on have an electrolyte imbalance.

Let your doctor know if you have high blood pressure before starting treatment with Zemplar.


Zemplar Drug Interactions

You should inform your doctor if you are taking any of the following:

  • antibiotics like clarithromycin (Biaxin), dalfopristin/quinupristin (Synercid), erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin) and telithromycin (Ketek)
  • antidepressants like nefazodone
  • antifungal medications like clotrimazole (Mycelex Troche), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral) and voriconazole (Vfend)
  • cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran)
  • conivaptan (Vaprisol)
  • digoxin (Lanoxin)
  • heart or blood pressure medications like diltiazem (Cartia, Cardizem), felodipine (Plendil), nifedipine (Nifedical, Procardia) and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan)
  • HIV/AIDS medications like atazanavir (Reyataz), delavirdine (Rescriptor), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), saquinavir (Invirase) and ritonavir (Norvir)
  • imatinib (Gleevec)
  • isoniazid (for treating tuberculosis)

Other drugs you take that are not listed may interact with Zemplar. You should tell your doctor about all of the medications you use. This includes prescription drugs, vitamins, supplements and herbal products, and over the counter medications. You should not begin taking a new medication without telling your doctor first.


Directions for Taking Zemplar

Zemplar is usually prescribed as a medication to take once daily, with or without food. You should take Zemplar exactly as it is prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor may change your dose to make sure that you get the best results from Zemplar. You should follow the instructions on your prescription label and not take Zemplar for longer than recommended by your doctor, or in larger or smaller doses.

Zemplar is taken either daily or every other day.

You can take Zemplar with or without food.

Zemplar needs to be stored at room temperature, and away from light, moisture and heat.

If you miss a dose of Zemplar you should take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.


Zemplar Side Effects

If you experience any of the following adverse effects you should stop taking Zemplar and seek emergency medical help immediately:

  • allergic reaction symptoms like breathing difficulties, hives, and swelling of your face, lips, throat or tongue
  • chills and fever with body aches and flu symptoms
  • chest pain and shortness of breath
  • confusion
  • dry mouth and increased thirst
  • drowsiness
  • feeling faint, fainting or lightheadedness
  • muscle weakness
  • nausea and loss of appetite
  • restlessness
  • seizures
  • swelling and rapid weight gain
  • urination that is increased, or pain and burning when you urinate
  • vitamin D overdose, symptoms include weakness, a metallic taste in your mouth, weight loss, muscle or bone pain, constipation, nausea and vomiting

Less serious side effects of Zemplar may include:

  • back pain or muscle pain
  • cold symptoms like a runny or stuffy nose, cough and sneezing
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness or spinning sensation
  • indigestion
  • mild skin rash and itching
  • stomach pain

It should be noted that this is not a complete list of possible side effects of Zemplar. You should contact your physician for a complete list and medical advice regarding these effects.


Zemplar Description and Dosing

Zemplar is available in 1 mcg, 2 mcg, and 4 mcg soft gelatin capsules.

1 mcg capsules are oval, gray and imprinted with Abbott “A” logo and “ZA”.

2 mcg capsules are oval, orange-brown and imprinted with Abbott “A” logo and “ZF”.

4 mcg capsules are oval, gold, and imprinted with Abbott “A” logo and “ZK”.

Zemplar should be approved by your doctor before you begin taking it, and you should not change your dose without talking to your physician first.

If you suspect that you have overdosed with Zemplar you should seek emergency help immediately.

Ingredients in Zemplar:

The primary active ingredient in Zemplar is paracalcitrol. Each capsule also contains medium chain triglycerides, alcohol, and butylated hydroxytoluene. The medium chain triglycerides are fractionated from coconut oil or palm kernel oil. The capsule shell is composed of gelatin, glycerin, titanium dioxide, iron oxide red (2 mcg capsules only), iron oxide yellow (2 mcg and 4 mcg capsules), iron oxide black (1 mcg capsules only), and water.

Back to Top


The information contained in this drug guide is intended as an educational resource only. This guide is not exhaustive and does not contain all available information about this drug.This guide is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatment.

The information provided in this guide does not replace the need for the advice and services of medical professionals or the need for medical examination. Always talk to your physician or pharmacist before taking any prescription medication or over the counter drugs (including any supplements) or before making any changes to your treatment. Only your doctor, nurse or pharmacist can provide you with safe and effective advice regarding your drug treatment.

The use of the information in this guide is at your sole risk. This information is provided "AS IS" with no warranties to accuracy or timeliness.

**All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.