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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2004 May;19(5):1174-81. Epub 2004 Mar 5.

Paricalcitol-treated patients experience improved hospitalization outcomes compared with calcitriol-treated patients in real-world clinical settings.

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Center for Outcomes Research and Education, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, Evanston, and Department of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL USA.



Abnormalities of serum calcium, phosphorous and intact parathyroid hormone (PTH) are associated with morbidity and mortality in haemodialysis patients. Pharmacologic parenteral vitamin D administration is used to correct these abnormalities; however, the relationship between vitamin D therapies and hospitalizations has never been addressed.


Healthcare data from January 1999 to November 2001 were analysed for 11,443 adult haemodialysis patients who received at least 10 doses of vitamin D therapy. Multivariate models were used to evaluate the effects of vitamin D therapy on: (i) total number of hospitalizations, (ii) total number of hospital days and (iii) risk of first hospitalization after initiation of vitamin D therapy.


When compared with the calcitriol group, the paricalcitol group had a lower risk of first all-cause hospitalization (14% less likely, P<0.0001), fewer hospitalizations per year (0.642 fewer, P<0.001) and fewer hospital days per year (6.84 fewer, P<0.001). In the paricalcitol and calcitriol groups, respectively, 5.6 and 41.3% patients switched to another vitamin D compound. For those patients who started and remained on the same vitamin D product, paricalcitol-treated patients experienced 0.846 fewer hospitalizations per year and 9.17 fewer hospital days per year, P<0.001 for both. The paricalcitol group also had a lower risk of first PTH-related hospitalizations, fewer PTH-related annual hospitalizations and fewer days per year.


Paricalcitol-treated patients experienced fewer hospitalizations and hospital days per year when compared with calcitriol-treated patients. Initiating vitamin D therapy with paricalcitol may result in overall savings of approximately 7600-11,000 US dollars per patient per year. A randomized, controlled, blinded study would be valuable in confirming and understanding these results.

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