Calcium chloride is a versatile chemical used widely in both medical and industrial settings. In the medical industry in particular, calcium chloride is a medication used to help treat several disorders, including hypocalcemia and magnesium toxicity.
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Calcium chloride is a white, odorless and water-soluble medication with an array of uses. Drugs.com defines calcium chloride as a sterile, nonpyrogenic and hypertonic solution with a pH of 6.3. Calcium chloride must be stored in a controlled room temperature of 15 to 30 degrees C. It is available in a pellet form for Industrial uses or a liquid for medical uses.
Calcium and chloride are both naturally occurring elements of the body and are needed for the maintenance and balance of important bodily functions. In the medical industry, calcium chloride is used most for the treatment of hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium levels, according to Rxmed.com. It can also be used as secondary therapy for many conditions such as spider bites, magnesium overdose and intoxication, and lead colic. The Nemours Foundation reports that calcium chloride promotes cardiovascular health because it protects the heart from intoxication of potassium or certain heart medications. In industrial applications, solid calcium chloride is used as a "de-icer" because it has the ability to melt large volumes of snow and ice in roads and sidewalks.
A 10-percent calcium chloride solution is administered through intravenous injection in a central vein, according to Drugs.com. Adults diagnosed with hypocalcemia are given calcium chloride doses of 200 mg to 1 g at one- to three-day intervals. A smaller dose of 2.7 to 5.0 mg per kilogram of body weight is administered to pediatrics suffering from hypocalcemia. A typical 10 ml syringe solution of 10 percent calcium chloride is composed of 1 g of calcium chloride or 270 mg of elemental calcium. An initial calcium chloride dose of 500 mg is administered for patients suffering from magnesium toxicity.
Precautions & Warnings
Rxmeds.com reports that calcium chloride must be administered intravenously only and not directly into tissues or muscles. Calcium chloride injections should be performed through a small needle. Large veins are recommended sites for injection to prevent rapid increase of blood calcium levels, which can be harmful to the heart. Slow calcium chloride injection also prevents complications such as vasodilation, decreased blood pressure and cardiac arrest. High vitamin D intake or supplements must be avoided while taking calcium chloride unless advised by your physician. Other drugs interactions include cardiac glycosides and tetracycline antibiotics and they should be avoided during calcium chloride therapy. Calcium chloride is not recommended for use by women who are pregnant or nursing because not enough safety studies have been conducted.
Calcium chloride injections may cause certain complications such as skin flushing, nausea, vomiting, and hypotension. A local burning sensation is reported with injection use. Rapid release of calcium chloride through IV is associated with vasomotor collapse among patients.