Usefulness of pamidronate in severe secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients undergoing hemodialysis

Kidney Int Suppl. 2003 Jun:(85):S88-90. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1755.63.s85.21.x.


Background: Although bisphosphonates have been widely used to treat bone diseases characterized by increased bone resorption, there are limited data showing their possible usefulness in patients on hemodialysis (HD) with secondary hyperparathyroidism.

Methods: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of pamidronate in HD patients affected by severe secondary hyperparathyroidism and moderate hypercalcemia who were receiving intravenous calcitriol (Calcijex).

Results: In this prospective one-year, open-labeled study, 13 patients (9 women/4 men) with a mean age of 64 +/- 9 years and a mean time on dialysis of 94 +/- 61 months were evaluated. The inclusion criteria were: iPTH>500 pg/mL, Ca>11 mg/dL, P <6 mg/dL, and osteopenia (T-score <-1 SD). Blood levels of Ca, P, alkaline phosphatase (AP), and iPTH were assessed at the beginning of the study and every month. Radiographs of the vertebral spine and bone mineral density (BMD) (lumbar spine and femoral neck) were assessed basal and every 6 months. All patients received 60 mg of pamidronate intravenously every two months throughout the study period. Calcitriol and phosphate binders were adjusted according to iPTH, Ca, and P blood levels. BMD increased in both the lumbar and femoral neck scans (mean increase of 33%) at 6 and 12 months. iPTH increased at 3 months in all patients, and decreased more than 50% in 10 patients after increasing the calcitriol doses. Three patients had no response. A slight decrease in Ca and P was observed in all patients with no significant changes in AP. There were no adverse events.

Conclusion: Pamidronate is effective in controlling hypercalcemia in patients on HD with secondary hyperparathyroidism and allows for a more aggressive use of intravenous calcitriol.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bone Density
  • Diphosphonates / adverse effects
  • Diphosphonates / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia / drug therapy
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / drug therapy*
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / pathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pamidronate
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*


  • Diphosphonates
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Pamidronate