NZ Formulary

Calcium supplements

kal-see-um

What does it do?

Calcium supplements are used to treat and prevent osteoporosis, and sometimes for other conditions.

How should you take it?

Take calcium supplements as directed with food and a glass of water.
Dissolve the effervescent tablets in a glass of water before swallowing.

What if you forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as possible. If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and carry on as normal. Do not take two doses at the same time.

Can you take other medicines?

Some medicines available without a prescription may react with calcium supplements including:

  • supplements containing iron (e.g. Ferro-Tab®), magnesium (e.g. Chelated Magnesium®) or zinc (e.g. Zincaps®) – do not take these within two hours of calcium supplements
  • supplements that also contain calcium (e.g. Centrum®)

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Symptoms of too much calcium, including: nausea, headache, confusion, weakness, peeing more often

Tell your doctor

Stomach upset, constipation

Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have kidney, heart, parathyroid or bone (other than osteoporosis) problems.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.