Menu Close

Calcium Carbonate

Why is Calcium Carbonate Prescribed?

Calcium carbonate is a dietary supplement used when the amount of calcium taken in the diet is not enough. Calcium is needed by the body for healthy bones, muscles, nervous system, and heart. Calcium carbonate also is used as an antacid to relieve heartburn, acid indigestion, and upset stomach.

Calcium Carbonate
Calcium Carbonate

It is available with or without a prescription.

Calcium carbonate is commonly prescribed for various medical conditions due to its role in providing supplemental calcium, an essential mineral for the body. Here are some reasons why calcium carbonate may be prescribed:

  1. Calcium Supplementation: Calcium carbonate is a source of elemental calcium, and it is often prescribed to individuals who need to increase their calcium intake. Adequate calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth.
  2. Osteoporosis: Calcium carbonate is frequently recommended for individuals with osteoporosis or those at risk of developing this condition. Osteoporosis is characterized by the weakening of bones, making them more susceptible to fractures.
  3. Hypocalcemia: In cases of low blood calcium levels (hypocalcemia), healthcare providers may prescribe calcium carbonate to restore the balance of calcium in the body. This condition can be caused by various factors, including certain medical conditions or medications.
  4. Antacid: Calcium carbonate also functions as an antacid, helping to neutralize excess stomach acid. It is used to relieve symptoms of acid indigestion, heartburn, and upset stomach.
  5. Prevention of Calcium Deficiency: Some individuals may be at risk of calcium deficiency due to dietary factors, malabsorption issues, or specific medical conditions. Calcium carbonate supplements can help prevent or address such deficiencies.
  6. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Pregnant and breastfeeding women may be advised to take calcium carbonate to ensure an adequate supply of calcium for both the mother and the developing baby.

How Does Calcium Carbonate Work for Health ?

Calcium carbonate plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health, primarily by providing the body with the essential mineral calcium. Here are some key ways in which calcium carbonate works for health:

  1. Bone Health: Calcium is a vital component of bones and teeth. The majority of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones, providing strength and structure. Adequate calcium intake, often supplemented with calcium carbonate, is essential for the formation and maintenance of healthy bones throughout life. It is particularly important during periods of rapid bone growth, such as childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy.
  2. Prevention of Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weakened and porous bones, making them more prone to fractures. Adequate calcium intake, along with vitamin D, is crucial for preventing osteoporosis. Calcium carbonate supplements may be prescribed to individuals at risk of developing this condition.
  3. Teeth Health: Calcium is also essential for the formation and maintenance of healthy teeth. Adequate calcium intake supports the development of strong enamel and helps prevent tooth decay.
  4. Blood Clotting: Calcium plays a role in the blood clotting process. It is involved in the activation of certain clotting factors that help prevent excessive bleeding when there is an injury.
  5. Muscle Function: Calcium is necessary for proper muscle function, including muscle contraction and relaxation. It helps transmit nerve signals that control muscle movements.
  6. Nerve Transmission: Calcium ions are involved in the transmission of nerve impulses. They play a crucial role in the release of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transmit signals between nerve cells.
  7. Cell Signaling: Calcium serves as a signaling molecule within cells, influencing various cellular processes. It plays a role in regulating cell growth, division, and apoptosis (programmed cell death).
  8. Acid Neutralization: Calcium carbonate, in the form of antacids, can help neutralize excess stomach acid. This property makes it useful for relieving symptoms of acid indigestion, heartburn, and upset stomach.

How Should Calcium Carbonate be Used?

Calcium carbonate comes as a tablet, chewable tablet, capsule, and liquid to take by mouth. It is usually taken three or four times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription or package label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take calcium carbonate exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. When using this medicine as a dietary supplement, take it with food or following meals.

Chewable tablets should be chewed thoroughly before being swallowed; do not swallow them whole. Drink a full glass of water after taking either the regular or chewable tablets or capsules. Some liquid forms of calcium carbonate must be shaken well before use.

The usage of calcium carbonate can vary based on the specific medical condition and individual needs. It’s essential to follow the prescribed dosage and instructions provided by a healthcare professional. Here are some general guidelines on how calcium carbonate is commonly used:

  1. Dosage: The recommended dosage will depend on the individual’s age, health condition, and the reason for supplementation. Always follow the healthcare provider’s instructions or the directions on the product label.
  2. Timing: The timing of calcium carbonate supplementation can be important. In general, it is often recommended to take calcium supplements with meals, as this can enhance absorption. However, specific instructions may vary, so it’s crucial to follow the advice of a healthcare professional.
  3. Formulations: Calcium carbonate is available in various formulations, including tablets, chewable tablets, capsules, and liquid forms. The choice of formulation may depend on factors such as personal preference, ease of use, and the ability to swallow.
  4. Interaction with Other Substances: Calcium carbonate can interfere with the absorption of certain medications, including some antibiotics and thyroid medications. If you are taking other medications, it’s essential to inform your healthcare provider to avoid potential interactions. They may recommend adjusting the timing of medication or suggest alternative formulations.
  5. Regular Monitoring: For individuals taking calcium carbonate for specific medical conditions, such as osteoporosis, regular monitoring may be necessary. This may involve periodic bone density tests and blood tests to assess calcium levels.
  6. Adherence to Dietary Guidelines: In addition to supplementation, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet rich in calcium-containing foods. This includes dairy products, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and fortified foods.
  7. Hydration: Ensure an adequate intake of water when taking calcium carbonate, especially in the case of chewable tablets or effervescent formulations.

What Special Precautions Should I Follow?

Before taking calcium carbonate,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to calcium carbonate or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially digoxin (Lanoxin), etidronate (Didronel), phenytoin (Dilantin), tetracycline (Sumycin), and vitamins. Do not take calcium carbonate within 1-2 hours of taking other medicines. Calcium may decrease the effectiveness of the other medicine.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease or stomach conditions.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking calcium carbonate, call your doctor.

What Should I do if I Forget a Dose?

If you are taking calcium carbonate on a regular schedule, take the missed dose as soon you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What Side Effects can Calcium Carbonate Cause?

Calcium carbonate may cause side effects. While calcium carbonate is generally considered safe when used as directed, it may cause side effects in some individuals. Common side effects of calcium carbonate supplementation include:

  1. Constipation: Calcium carbonate can have a constipating effect, particularly when taken in higher doses. Drinking plenty of water and increasing dietary fiber may help alleviate this side effect.
  2. Upset Stomach: Some people may experience stomach upset, bloating, or gas when taking calcium carbonate. Taking the supplement with meals can help reduce these symptoms.
  3. Hypercalcemia: Excessive intake of calcium, whether through diet or supplements, can lead to high levels of calcium in the blood, known as hypercalcemia. This condition can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, confusion, and in severe cases, kidney problems. It is crucial not to exceed the recommended dosage without the guidance of a healthcare professional.
  4. Kidney Stones: Long-term use of calcium supplements, especially in high doses, may increase the risk of developing kidney stones in susceptible individuals. Adequate hydration and moderation in calcium intake can help reduce this risk.
  5. Interference with Iron and Zinc Absorption: Calcium can interfere with the absorption of iron and zinc when taken simultaneously. If you are taking supplements of these minerals, it is advisable to separate the timing of calcium and iron or zinc supplementation.
  6. Drug Interactions: Calcium carbonate can interact with certain medications, reducing their absorption. This includes some antibiotics and thyroid medications. It’s important to inform your healthcare provider about all medications and supplements you are taking to avoid potential interactions.
  7. Allergic Reactions: While rare, some individuals may be allergic to calcium carbonate or other ingredients in calcium supplements. Signs of an allergic reaction may include rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing. Seek medical attention if you experience these symptoms.

Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • upset stomach
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • belching
  • constipation
  • dry mouth
  • increased urination
  • loss of appetite
  • metallic taste

What Should I Know About Storage and Disposal of Calcium Carbonate?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).

Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

What Other Information Should I Know?

If this medicine has been prescribed for you, keep all appointments with your doctor so that your response to calcium carbonate can be checked. Do not let anyone else take your medicine.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Alka-Mints®
  • Calel-D®
  • Calcid®
  • Caltrate 600®
  • Chooz®
  • Miralac®
  • Os-Cal 500®
  • Rolaids®
  • Titralac®
  • Tums®

Brand Names of combination products

  • Gas-X® with Maalox® (containing Calcium Carbonate, Simethicone)
  • Rolaids® Plus Gas Relief (containing Calcium Carbonate, Simethicone)

Leave a Reply

Please leave correct email if you want us to contact you

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *