Controlled trial of falecalcitriol versus alfacalcidol in suppression of parathyroid hormone in hemodialysis patients with secondary hyperparathyroidism

Am J Kidney Dis. 1998 Aug;32(2):238-46. doi: 10.1053/ajkd.1998.v32.pm9708607.


Active vitamin D3 is extensively used for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism in hemodialysis patients. But it is often impossible to administer enough dose to suppress parathyroid hormone (PTH) level, because of hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia. New modalities with higher specificity for PTH suppression are desirable. We conducted a crossover comparative study of falecalcitriol, an active vitamin D3 analog, and alfacalcidol (1alpha[OH]D3). In this study, 25 hemodialysis patients with moderate to severe secondary hyperparathyroidism who had normal serum calcium levels were enrolled. They received daily oral doses of alfacalcidol during an 8-week observation period. Based on serum calcium levels and intact PTH, the subjects were allocated into two groups, and a comparative study was conducted using unmasked crossover design of two drugs x two periods. The dosage of both drugs was adjusted to maintain the initial serum calcium levels, and the relative change (%change) of serum biochemical parameters were compared. Comparison of two drugs in period 1 was taken as primary efficacy evaluation. Reproducibility of drug action was confirmed by comparing the effect of falecalcitriol between period 1 and 2. The percent change of PTH of falecalcitriol was lower than that of alfacalcidol: Those were, respectively, -7.89% and +30.42% for c-terminal PTH (P = 0.022), -4.39% and +38.88% for i-PTH (P = 0.077), and +3.68% and +30.52% for midregion PTH (P = 0.099). The similar changes were observed in the falecalcitriol group during period 2, confirming the reproducibility. Falecalcitriol was found to be superior to alfacalcidol in suppression of PTH levels in patients with moderate to severe secondary hyperparathyroidism when it is administered in equivalent doses that might maintain similar serum calcium levels.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Calcitriol / adverse effects
  • Calcitriol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Calcitriol / therapeutic use
  • Calcium / blood
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols / adverse effects
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols / therapeutic use*
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / blood
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / drug therapy*
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Calcitriol
  • 26,26,26,27,27,27-hexafluoro-1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3
  • Calcium
  • alfacalcidol