In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized, multicenter study, 35 patients with end-stage renal disease undergoing maintenance hemodialysis were treated three times weekly for 4 weeks with either 19-nor-1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D2 (paricalcitol) intravenously at doses ranging from 0.04 to 0.24 microg/kg or placebo. Eligible patients with secondary hyperparathyroidism (HPT; intact parathyroid hormone [iPTH] level > 300 pg/mL) were initially withdrawn from any existing vitamin D therapy over a 4-week washout period and then randomized to treatment for 4 weeks with either paricalcitol or placebo. Overall, there was a clinically and statistically significant reduction in iPTH level for patients receiving paricalcitol compared with placebo (P = 0.006). The study end point for efficacy was at least a 30% reduction from maximum baseline in iPTH level for 75% of the patients receiving paricalcitol per dosing group. The study end point for efficacy was at least a 30% reduction from maximum baseline in iPTH for 75% of patients receiving paricalcitol per dosing group. Sixty-eight percent (15 of 22) of patients receiving paricalcitol attained this efficacy end point regardless of dosage received (0.04, 0.08, 0.16, and 0.24 microg/kg). Eighty-three percent (5 of 6) of the patients in each of the paricalcitol groups receiving 0.16- and 0.24-microg/kg dosages attained the efficacy end point. Only two patients receiving placebo attained the iPTH end point. There were no clinically relevant differences in serum calcium (Ca) or phosphorus (P) levels between the group treated with paricalcitol and that treated with placebo. Although there was a statistically significant difference between the change from baseline to final-visit Ca levels in the paricalcitol group and the placebo group (P < 0.001), the final-visit mean Ca level in the paricalcitol group was within the normal range (9.44 mg/dL). There was no statistically significant difference between groups for the change from baseline in P level (P = 0.625). Only one patient treated with paricalcitol developed hypercalcemia before or coincident with the iPTH end point. Three other patients receiving paricalcitol experienced elevated serum Ca levels subsequent to reaching the iPTH end point, with iPTH reductions of 83% to 98%. There were no significant differences between patients treated with paricalcitol and patients treated with placebo in adverse reactions. These results show that paricalcitol safely and effectively reduces iPTH levels in hemodialysis patients with secondary HPT.