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      ‘Pulse Oral’ versus Intravenous Calcitriol Therapy in Chronic Hemodialysis Patients

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          The aim of this prospective and randomized study was to compare the efficacy, side effects, and costs of ‘pulse oral’ versus intravenous calcitriol in the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism in hemodialysis (HD) patients. A total of 20 patients were randomized to receive over a 4-month period pulse orally administered calcitriol (pulse oral group; n = 10) or intravenous calcitriol (intravenous group; n = 10). All patients used standard dialysate calcium (1.75 mmol/l) throughout the study period. In accordance with the study design calcium dialysate concentrations were reduced when this was necessary to avoid hypercalcemic crises. The patients were stratified into two subgroups according to their initial serum PTH levels: patients with mild or moderate degree of hyperparathyroidism (17 patients) and patients with severe hyperparathyroidism (3 patients). Intravenous and pulse oral cacitriol did not significantly reduce serum PTH concentrations in patients with severe hyperparathyroidism (1,157 ± 156 vs. 807 ± 228 ng/ml, p = 0.09). Intermittent calcitriol, administered by intravenous or oral route, significantly reduced serum PTH levels (326 ± 119 vs. 109 ± 79 ng/ml, p = 0.0001) in patients with mild or moderate hyperparathyroidism. In patients with mild or moderate hyperparathyroidism, intravenous calcitriol significantly reduced PTH concentrations at the end of the 1st month, before the increase of serum ionized calcium levels, whereas ‘pulse oral’ calcitriol significantly suppressed parathyroid activity at the end of the 2nd month. Calcium dialysate concentration was reduced in 9 out of 10 (90%) patients of the pulse oral group and in all patients (10/10) of intravenous group. The incidence of hypercalcemic crises was 24% (39/160) in the pulse oral group and 14% (27/160) in the intravenous group. Analysis of costs showed that intravenous calcitriol was more expensive compared to pulse oral calcitriol. These data indicate that intermittent intensive calcitriol therapy, regardless of the route of administration, is effective in suppressing parathyroid activity in HD patients with mild or moderate hyperparathyroidism. In contrast, intermittent calcitriol therapy has a limited ability to achieve sustained serum PTH reductions in HD patients with severe hyperparathyroidism. Intravenous calcitriol was more expensive than pulse oral calcitriol, and we recommend the use of pulse oral calcitriol in HD patients with mild or moderate secondary hyperparathyroidism.

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          Author and article information

          S. Karger AG
          23 December 2008
          : 77
          : 3
          : 267-272
          Nephrology Department, Hospital, Lecco, Italy
          190286 Nephron 1997;77:267–272
          © 1997 S. Karger AG, Basel

          Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

          Page count
          Pages: 6
          Original Paper

          Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology

          Calcitriol, Secondary hyperparathyroidism, Pulse therapy


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