This site is intended for UK healthcare professionals
Medscape UK Univadis Logo
Medscape UK Univadis Logo

Ergocalciferol parenteral

Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Vitamin D


Solution for injection containing 300,000 units/ml (0.75% w/v) ergocalciferol.

Drugs List

  • ergocalciferol 300000unit/1ml injection
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Hypophosphataemia: secondary to vitamin D malabsorption
    Osteomalacia: secondary to vitamin D malabsorption
    Rickets: secondary to vitamin D malabsorption


    Doses are given as international units (units). Ergocalciferol injection may be administered as a single dose or repeated daily dependent on requirements and clinical response.

    Dosage should be individualised with serum and urinary calcium, phosphate and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) monitored initially weekly and then at regular intervals to achieve optimum response and to avoid hypercalcaemia.


    For intramuscular injection only.


    Hypervitaminosis D
    Metastatic calcification
    Severe renal impairment

    Precautions and Warnings

    Cardiovascular disorder
    Renal impairment

    Not recommended for treatment of hypoparathyroidism
    Advise patient drowsiness may affect ability to drive or operate machinery
    Ensure patient has adequate fluid intake
    Breastfeeding: Hypercalcaemia of infant possible if mother taking vitamin D
    Monitor blood urea nitrogen (BUN)
    Monitor serum calcium levels
    Monitor serum phosphate levels
    Monitor urinary calcium level
    Discontinue immediately if hyperglycaemia occurs
    Dosage must be individualised for each patient, especially children
    Adequate daily intake of calcium essential

    If hypoparathyroidism occurs during use of calciferol concurrent calcium, parathyroid hormone or dihydrotachysterol may be required.

    Use with caution in patients with vitamin D resistant rickets as the range between the toxic and therapeutic dosage is narrow.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Caution is advised when treating pregnant women. Animal studies have shown foetal abnormalities associated with administration of high doses of vitamin D during pregnancy although evidence for these effects in humans is lacking. There is however a risk of hypercalcaemia in the mother and neonate, particularly when ergocalciferol is given late in the pregnancy. In a study the offspring of a woman administered 17 to 144 times the recommended dose of calcitriol during pregnancy manifested mild hypercalcaemia during the first 2 days of life which resolved to normal levels at day 3.

    Schaefer concludes that very high doses of vitamin D are contraindicated in pregnancy due to the risk of hypercalcaemia but where there is a documented maternal vitamin D deficiency, supplementation should be administered until maternal plasma concentrations return to normal levels. In such instances however, maternal and neonatal calcium and phosphate levels should be monitored regularly.

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    Caution is advised when treating a patient with ergocalciferol who is breastfeeding.

    Calciferol is excreted in limited amounts in human breast milk. A direct relationship exists between maternal serum levels and the concentration in breast milk. Excessive maternal doses of ergocalciferol can cause hypercalcaemia and hypervitaminosis D in the breast-fed infant. If breast feeding is continued where the mother is taking pharmacological doses of ergocalciferol, monitoring of the infants serum and urinary calcium, phosphate and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) is recommended.

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at

    Side Effects

    Abdominal pain
    Bone pain
    Cardiac arrhythmias
    Conjunctivitis (calcific)
    Dry mouth
    Ectopic calcification
    Increase in blood urea nitrogen
    Increases in hepatic enzymes
    Metallic taste
    Reduced libido
    Serum creatinine increased
    Vascular calcification
    Weight loss


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: March 2014

    Reference Sources

    Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Options and Risk Assessment, 2nd edition (2007) ed. Schaefer, C., Peters, P. and Miller, R. Elsevier, London.

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 9th edition (2011) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. and Yaffe, S. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Ergocalciferol Injection BP 300,000U. RPH Pharmaceuticals AB. Dated April 2012

    NICE Evidence Services Available at: Last accessed: 28 June 2017

    UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service.
    Available at:
    Last accessed: March 20, 2014

    Access the full UK drug database with a FREE Medscape UK Account
    It takes just a few minutes, and you’ll get unlimited access to information on over 11,000 UK drugs.
    Register for Free

    Already a member? Log in

    Medscape UK | Univadis prescription drug monographs & interactions are based on FDB Multilex Content

    FDB Logo

    FDB Disclaimer : FDB Multilex is intended for the use of healthcare professionals and is provided on the basis that the healthcare professionals will retain FULL and SOLE responsibility for deciding what treatment to prescribe or dispense for any particular patient or circumstance.