Zemplar (Paricalcitol) and/or alternatives
No Generic Alternative.
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General Information On Zemplar
Zemplar is a used as a medication for treating an overactive parathyroid gland or hyperparathyroidism. This condition occurs in patients who are suffering from chronic kidney failure. Paricalcitol is the generic name for this medication, which is available as an oral capsule. This medication works by preventing the parathyroid hormone from being formed and secreted. You may buy Zemplar as part of a complete program, and it is not to be administered by itself unless specified by your doctor.
Side Effects for Zemplar
Allergic reactions may occur after you take Zemplar, but they are very rare. Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical assistance if you suffer from any of the symptoms of an allergic reaction. These side effects include swelling of the throat, tongue, lips or face, difficulty breathing, and hives.
Serious side effects of Zemplar include fever, body ache, flu-like symptoms, chills, chest pain, feeling like passing out, falling short of breath, rapid weight gain, swelling, drowsiness, increased urination, feeling light-headed, rapid heartbeat, seizure, fainting, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle fatigue, increased thirst, restlessness and confusion. Signs of vitamin D overdose may also occur, such as weight loss, weakness, constipation, a metallic taste in the mouth, nausea, vomiting and bone or muscle pain. Stop taking Zemplar and inform your doctor at once if the above side effects occur.
Mild side effects include dizziness, back pain, giddiness, mild joint or muscle pain, indigestion, stomach pain, sore throat, diarrhea, cough, stuffy or runny nose, and mild skin rashes or itching. Inform your doctor if these side effects persist for a long time or if they worsen.
You must not buy Zemplar if you have a known allergy to vitamin D supplements, hypercalcemia (high level of blood calcium) or vitamin D toxicity (high level of vitamin D). Inform your doctor if you are suffering from high blood pressure, electrolyte imbalance, or liver disease. You may need to undergo certain medical tests or your dosage of Zemplar may be adjusted if you suffer from any of the above medical conditions. Zemplar may or may not harm your unborn child. Inform your doctor beforehand if you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant during the course of treatment. Do not take Zemplar if you are breastfeeding.
You must take Zemplar as prescribed by your doctor. Zemplar capsules may be prescribed to be taken two or three times every week. If the prescribed dosage is three times a week, then Zemplar must be taken equally on each day that it is prescribed. Zemplar is available as Zemplar 1mcg, Zemplar 2mcg, and Zemplar 4mcg. The dosage prescribed is based on the stage of the chronic kidney disease and the baseline levels of parathyroid hormone in the blood.
Inform your doctor if you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medication. Also inform him/her if you are taking any vitamin supplements or herbal products. Consult your doctor if you are taking cholestyramine, digozin, isoniazid, antibiotics like clarithromycin, erythromycin or telithromycin, antidepressants, antifungal medications, blood pressure medications, or HIV/AIDS medications. Do not start, stop or alter the dosage of any other medication you are taking without consulting your doctor.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.