You or your loved one might need immediate treatment for calcium deficiency or hypocalcemia at some point in life.
Hypocalcemia is a result of calcium loss due to hormonal changes or certain medications. The condition can also be caused by a lack of vitamin D and may signal problems with the kidneys or pancreas.
A significant loss of calcium may also lead to a condition called hypocalcemia tetany, where you experience muscle spasms. In this case, your doctor may recommend a calcium IV to replace the lost minerals.
Before we take a deeper look at calcium IV, let's start by understanding what it means.
What is a Calcium IV?
Calcium IV is an intravenous medication used to treat calcium deficiency. It involves injecting a mineral supplement known as calcium gluconate directly into your bloodstream. Calcium gluconate is a calcium salt derived from gluconic acid.
A calcium IV injection contains a sterile, nonpyrogenic supersaturated solution of calcium gluconate. This solution is usually made by mixing gluconic acid with either calcium hydroxide or calcium carbonate.
In most cases, you require calcium supplementation when you don't get enough calcium from your diet. Note that you can get calcium gluconate in generic form. So what dosage do you need?
Calcium Gluconate Dosage
The recommended dosage is 500 mg or 2 grams for adults, which is usually 5 to 20 mL. For children, the appropriate dosage is 200 to 500 mg, usually 2 to 5 mL. If you have an infant, he or she can usually receive less than 20 mg, which translates to less than 2 mL.
Now that you know the proper dosage for calcium gluconate, let’s look at the conditions that require a calcium IV treatment.
What Can Calcium IV Treat?
Calcium gluconate can treat conditions such as:
- Magnesium toxicity
- Low blood calcium
- Calcium deficiency arising from hypoparathyroidism
- Hypocalcemic tetany
- Calcium deficiency due to rapid pregnancy growth
- High blood potassium
Additionally, this supplementation can be used to prevent or treat osteoporosis or rickets. Although you can take it orally, it is recommended for the supplement to be injected into a vein.
Let's take a deeper look into some medical conditions that require calcium gluconate supplementation.
Low Blood Calcium
With low blood calcium, your doctor might give you a 10% calcium gluconate solution. The solution contains 0.93% calcium ion, which is equivalent to 930 mg/dl. It is usually given intravenously.
High Blood Potassium
High blood potassium is also known as hyperkalemia. It is usually caused by health problems such as kidney failure and certain medications. In this case, your doctor can use a calcium IV treatment as a cardioprotective therapy since high blood potassium causes irregular heartbeats, otherwise known as arrhythmias.
Calcium chloride can also be used to treat high potassium levels. Your potassium level is considered high when it reaches above 5.5 mmoi/l. Alternatively, you can use an electrocardiogram (ECG) to assess your blood potassium levels.
Magnesium toxicity (hypermagnesemia) refers to an electrolyte disorder characterized by a high level of magnesium in your blood. It leads to weakness, decreased breathing rate, confusion, and decreased reflexes. Its complications include cardiac arrest and low blood pressure.
You can suffer from magnesium toxicity if you have a kidney failure or when under antacid medications containing magnesium. Magnesium toxicity treatment includes calcium IV medication. This treatment counteracts the magnesium you are getting in your body.
Physicians use calcium IV medication on cardiac arrest patients. However, calcium gluconate is not recommended for general use since it can worsen your condition.
It is only used to treat low blood calcium or high blood potassium that occur due to blood transfusion. Doctors administer calcium IV in the form of calcium chloride.
Hydrofluoric Acid Burns
A hydrofluoric acid burn refers to a chemical burn from hydrofluoric acid that results in skin breakdown, swelling, pain, and redness. You may also bleed if you inhale hydrofluoric acid fumes.
Burns caused by hydrofluoric acid can be treated with calcium gluconate. To treat these burns, doctors prepare a 2.5% gluconate gel and apply it directly to the hydrofluoric burn.
A calcium IV has many uses, but there are also some side effects to using this supplement. Below we discuss some common side effects of a calcium IV treatment.
What Are Side Effects of Calcium Gluconate?
Some of the side effects to expect from a calcium IV treatment include a slow heart rate. This effect usually occurs when you inject yourself with calcium gluconate. You should also expect pain at the site of injection as well as low blood pressure. If you take it orally, the side effects include nausea and constipation.
Rapid calcium IVs can also cause hypercalcemia, a high calcium level in your blood serum. Hypercalcemia leads to abdominal pains, confusion, weakness, irregular heartbeats, cardiac arrests, bone pain, and kidney stones.
Finally, injecting calcium gluconate into your muscles can cause local necrosis or form an abscess.
Informing Your Doctor About Your Medical History
It’s important for doctors to have the patient’s full medical history before administering a calcium IV treatment. For instance, before taking a calcium IV supplement, you should let your doctor know if you have a history of kidney stones. Some studies say that an excessively high calcium intake increases the likelihood of kidney stone formation.
You should also let your doctor evaluate your serum magnesium and correct hypomagnesemia, especially if your initial calcium deficiency treatment was refractory.
Although it's not clear whether calcium is excreted in human milk, it is essential to notify your doctor if you are breastfeeding. Be sure to also inform your doctor about your pregnancy since calcium supplements are only given to pregnant women when necessary.
Some of the drugs and substances that may interact with calcium gluconate include:
- Anti Acid medications
- Vitamin D supplements
For that reason, always notify your doctor when you're on other medications.
The Bottom Line
When going for a Calcium iv treatment, always ensure you consult your doctor. This is because you can't be sure whether it may worsen your condition or not. Alternatively, you can contact Reset IV to help you with your iv solutions.
This service provider has registered nurses to ensure you are satisfied with their services. Even better, its care providers are available 24/7 and can visit you in your home, office, or hotel.