BACKGROUND: Secondary hyperparathyroidism is a common feature in patients with chronic kidney disease. Its serious clinical consequences include renal osteodystrophy, calcific uremic arteriolopathy, and vascular calcifications that increase morbidity and mortality.Reduced synthesis of active vitamin D contributes to secondary hyperparathyroidism. Therefore, this condition is managed with activated vitamin D. However, hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia limit the use of activated vitamin D.In Denmark alfacalcidol is the primary choice of vitamin D analog.A new vitamin D analog, paricalcitol, may be less prone to induce hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia.However, a randomised controlled clinical study comparing alfacalcidol and paricalcitol has never been performed.The primary objective of this study is to compare alfacalcidol and paricalcitol. We evaluate the suppression of the secondary hyperparathyroidism and the tendency towards hyperphosphatemia and hypercalcemia. METHODS/DESIGN: This is an investigator-initiated cross-over study. Nine Danish haemodialysis units will recruit 117 patients with end stage renal failure on maintenance haemodialysis therapy.Patients are randomised into two treatment arms. After a wash out period of 6 weeks they receive increasing doses of alfacalcidol or paricalcitol for a period of 16 weeks and after a further wash out period of 6 weeks they receive the contrary treatment (paricalcitol or alfacalcidol) for 16 weeks. DISCUSSION: Hyperparathyroidism, hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia are associated with increased cardiovascular mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease.If there is any difference in the ability of these two vitamin D analogs to decrease the secondary hyperparathyroidism without causing hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia, there may also be a difference in the risk of cardiovascular mortality depending on which vitamin D analog that are used. This has potential major importance for this group of patients. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00469599.
Keywords: Adult; Ergocalciferols; Female; Humans; Hydroxycholecalciferols; Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary; Kidney Failure, Chronic; Male; Renal Dialysis; Treatment Outcome