Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic available

Vitamin D3

(Cholecalciferol)

  • Pill
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    Raises Vitamin D levels.

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    Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic available

    Our pharmacists’ bottom line

    Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) works well for vitamin D deficiencies and is available over the counter. It absorbs better than vitamin D2, but it's animal-based so vegetarians and vegans might not want to take it.

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    • Available in generic and over the counter.
    • Available in oral solution, tablet, and capsules.
    • You can take it as a once-a-day or once-a-week medication.
    • This version of vitamin D is better absorbed by the body than vitamin D2.
    • This is an animal-based version of vitamin D, so vegetarians and vegans may not be comfortable with taking this supplement.

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    Side effects for Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)

    Manufacturers don’t say how common these side effects are

    • Bone demineralization
    • Calcification of soft tissues
    • Constipation
    • Loss of appetite
    • Low red blood cells
    • Mental retardation
    • Mild acidosis
    • Nausea
    • Renal impairment
    • Weight loss

    What to expect when you take Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)

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    Tips from our pharmacists
    • Don't take other forms of vitamin D unless your doctor tells you to.
    • Make sure to take at least 600 to 1200 mg of calcium per day.
    • Call your doctor if you notice a metallic taste in your mouth, muscle or joint pain, headache or sleepiness.
    • If you're using the drops, you can place it directly into the mouth, or mix with food, water or juice.
    • If you're using the spray, spray it under the tongue.

    Risks and Warnings for Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)

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    • People on Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) who take more than the recommended dose can have high calcium in the blood, which can be dangerous in the kidneys. If you notice a metallic taste in your mouth, muscle or joint pain or a bad headache, talk to your doctor. Keep the amount of calcium you eat the same from day to day.

    Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

    Tips from pharmacists and people taking Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)

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    The FDA category for this medication is N. It is advised that you: Unknown
    Pregnancy
    Food
    • Tips from our pharmacists
    • If you're using the drops, you can place it directly into the mouth, or mix with food, water or juice.
    • Had no idea I was suffering from low vitamin D until a routine blood test revealed it. Taking it restored my energy level and improved mood followed. Big change in about 2 months. Taken with food. (An under-appreciated supplement).
      Taken for: Vitamin D deficiency
      Duration taken: A year or so
    Kidneys & liver
    • Risks from our pharmacists
    • People on Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) who take more than the recommended dose can have high calcium in the blood, which can be dangerous in the kidneys. If you notice a metallic taste in your mouth, muscle or joint pain or a bad headache, talk to your doctor. Keep the amount of calcium you eat the same from day to day.