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N Engl J Med. 1991 Dec 26;325(26):1843-8.

Effects of therapy in X-linked hypophosphatemic rickets.

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Ray Williams Institute of Paediatric Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Children's Hospital, Camperdown NSW, Australia.



Patients with X-linked hypophosphatemic rickets, which is clinically manifested by growth failure and bowing of the legs, are usually treated with phosphate and a vitamin D preparation. However, the efficacy of this treatment has been disputed, and nephrocalcinosis is a recognized complication of therapy.


We studied 24 patients with X-linked hypophosphatemic rickets (9 boys and 15 girls) ranging in age from 1 to 16 years (median, 5.3). The duration of combination therapy ranged from 0.3 to 11.8 years (median, 3.0). We measured height as a standard-deviation (SD) score (the number of SDs from the mean height for chronologic age). Measurements made before the age of two years or after the onset of puberty were excluded. We compared the results with those reported in 1971 for 16 untreated prepubertal Australian patients. We also determined the severity of nephrocalcinosis (on a scale of 0 to 4, with 0 indicating no abnormalities and 4 stone formation) with renal ultrasonography and whether it could be related to the dosage of phosphate or vitamin D or to other factors.


Patients treated for at least two years before the onset of puberty (n = 19) had a mean height SD score of -1.08, as compared with -2.05 in the untreated historical controls. The 13 patients who had been treated with calcitriol and phosphate for at least two years had an increase in the mean height SD score of 0.33, from -1.58 to -1.25 (95 percent confidence interval, 0 to 0.67; P = 0.05). Nineteen of the 24 patients (79 percent) had nephrocalcinosis detected on renal ultrasonography. The grade of nephrocalcinosis was significantly correlated with the mean phosphate dose (r = 0.60, P = 0.002), but not with the dose of vitamin D or the duration of therapy. All patients had normal serum creatinine concentrations.


Therapy with calcitriol and phosphate may increase the growth of children with X-linked hypophosphatemic rickets. Nephrocalcinosis in these children represents a complication of therapy and is associated with the dose of phosphate received.

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