Patients with chronic kidney disease are often insulin resistant and glucose intolerant--abnormalities that promote cardiovascular disease. Administration of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (calcitriol) has improved glucose metabolism in patients with end-stage renal disease. We conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial to test whether paricalcitol, a 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D analog, changes glucose tolerance in earlier stages of chronic kidney disease. In a crossover design, 22 nondiabetic patients with estimated glomerular filtration rates of stage 3-4 chronic kidney disease and fasting plasma glucose of 100-125 mg/dl were given daily oral paricalcitol for 8 weeks and matching placebo for 8 weeks, separated by an 8-week washout period. The order of interventions was random and blinded to both participants and investigators. Paricalcitol significantly reduced serum concentrations of parathyroid hormone, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, and 25-hydroxyvitamin D while significantly increasing serum concentrations of fibroblast growth factor-23 and 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. Paricalcitol, however, had no significant effect on glucose tolerance (the primary outcome measure), insulin sensitivity, beta-cell insulin response, plasma free fatty acid suppression, or urinary F2-isoprostane excretion. Thus, despite substantial effects on vitamin D metabolism, paricalcitol did not improve glucose metabolism in nondiabetic patients with stage 3-4 chronic kidney disease.