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Nephron Clin Pract. 2011;117(2):c151-9. doi: 10.1159/000319781. Epub 2010 Aug 10.

Comparative effectiveness of paricalcitol versus cinacalcet for secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients receiving hemodialysis.

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Center for Pharmacoeconomic Research, Department of Pharmacy Practice, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. schumock @



Parathyroidectomies are performed when medical therapy fails to control secondary hyperparathyroidism in hemodialysis patients. The objective of this study was to compare parathyroidectomy rates in secondary hyperparathyroidism patients treated with paricalcitol or cinacalcet.


Retrospective cohort study using health insurance claims from January 2001 through June 2007 for adult hemodialysis patients who were new users of paricalcitol or cinacalcet. Subjects had a minimum of 12 months' enrollment prior to initiation of treatment and at least 30-day follow-up.


We identified 1,387 paricalcitol- and 1,317 cinacalcet-treated patients. The parathyroidectomy incident rate was 74% lower in the paricalcitol (0.58 per 100 patient-years) compared to the cinacalcet (2.24 per 100 patient-years) cohort, with an unadjusted rate ratio of 0.26 (95% CI 0.12-0.52). The time to parathyroidectomy from medication initiation was longer for paricalcitol than cinacalcet; however, it was not statistically significant (535 vs. 443 days, p = 0.377). A Cox proportional hazard model that adjusted for age, gender, obesity, significantly different comorbidities, and duration of hemodialysis resulted in an adjusted risk reduction for parathyroidectomy of 79% (HR = 0.21, 95% CI 0.10-0.46) for paricalcitol compared to cinacalcet.


These data suggest that long-term treatment with paricalcitol is associated with fewer parathyroidectomies when compared to cinacalcet. Further comparative studies are needed to validate these results.

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