Efficacy and Safety of Upacicalcet in Hemodialysis Patients with Secondary Hyperparathyroidism: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial

Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2023 Oct 1;18(10):1300-1309. doi: 10.2215/CJN.0000000000000253. Epub 2023 Sep 11.


Background: Secondary hyperparathyroidism is a major complication of patients undergoing hemodialysis (HD). Upacicalcet, a new injectable calcimimetic, acts on calcium-sensing receptors to suppress parathyroid hormone (PTH) secretion. We examined the efficacy and safety of upacicalcet in patients with secondary hyperparathyroidism receiving HD.

Methods: In this phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, we randomized Japanese patients undergoing HD with serum intact PTH (iPTH) concentrations >240 pg/ml and corrected calcium concentrations ≥8.4 mg/dl. Either upacicalcet or placebo was administered after each HD session for 24 weeks. The primary outcome was the percentage of participants achieving the target mean serum iPTH concentration (60-240 pg/ml) at weeks 22-24.

Results: A total of 103 participants received upacicalcet, and 50 participants received the placebo. The percentage of participants achieving mean serum iPTH concentrations of 60-240 pg/ml during the evaluation period was 67% (69/103) in the upacicalcet group and 8% (4/50) in the placebo group. The difference between the two groups was 59% (95% confidence interval, 48% to 71%). Upacicalcet also decreased serum fibroblast growth factor-23, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, total type 1 procollagen-N-propeptide, and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-5b concentrations. Adverse events were reported in 85% (88/103) and 72% (36/50) participants in the upacicalcet and placebo groups, respectively. The incidence of upper gastrointestinal adverse events, such as nausea and vomiting, was similar between the two groups. Serum corrected calcium concentrations <7.5 mg/dl were observed in 2% of participants in the upacicalcet group and no participants in the placebo group.

Conclusions: Upacicalcet, a novel injectable calcimimetic, is effective and safe for secondary hyperparathyroidism patients receiving HD.

Clinical trial registry name and registration number: Phase 3 Study of SK-1403, NCT03801980 .

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium*
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary* / drug therapy
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary* / etiology
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects


  • Calcium
  • upacicalcet
  • Parathyroid Hormone

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03801980