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How can I take calcium?


Calcium supplements are available in several forms:

  • Tablets (chewable, dissolvable, extended release, regular release)
  • Capsules
  • Wafers
  • Powders
  • Granules
  • Syrups
  • Liquid suspension

Dosage amounts may vary according to several factors, including age, supplement strength, dietary calcium intake, and your reason for taking calcium. The best way to take calcium varies from person to person, based upon age, calcium needs, and health limitations. Talking to your doctor or pharmacist will be helpful in choosing your dose as well as provide you with helpful information on how to properly take the supplement.

What should I know before taking calcium supplements?

Before you take calcium, you should know that, while it is a considered a generally safe supplement, it may not be safe if taken in large unprescribed doses, with certain medications, or by people with certain medical conditions. These conditions include:

  • Allergies
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Heart disease
  • Hypercalcemia (high calcium levels in blood)
  • Hypercalciuria (high calcium levels in urine)
  • Too much parathyroid hormone (hyperparathyroidism)
  • Too little parathyroid hormone (hypoparathyroidism)
  • High or low phosphate levels in the blood (hyperphosphatemia and hypophosphatemia)
  • Kidney disease
  • Kidney stones
  • Sarcoidosis

Pregnant or nursing women can take calcium in recommended doses, but it is a good idea to talk to a doctor before choosing the dose. Taking large amounts of calcium while pregnant or nursing can be harmful to the child and the mother. Calcium may cause side effects such as constipation, belching, and gas. If you experience any of the following serious side effects, you should contact your doctor:

  • Allergic reaction symptoms
  • Confusion
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Frequent urination-heart rate changes
  • Kidney stones
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea or vomiting

Should I let my doctor know I take calcium?

Yes. Because calcium has the potential to interact with many medications and may affect certain medical conditions, it is a good idea to let your doctor know that you're taking it. Telling your doctor is especially important if you are being prescribed a new medication or any of the medications that are known to interact, or if you have a medical condition that may be complicated by increased calcium. Discussing your calcium supplement with your doctor may also help you determine the correct dosage and way to take it.

View calcium supplements.

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Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.

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