Patients with kidney failure who are undergoing dialysis have an increased risk of bone fractures, and the risk of dying after a hip fracture in such a patient is double that of the general population. Unfortunately, none of the approved drugs for fracture prevention in osteoporosis in the general population are approved for use in patients on dialysis, and some are actually contraindicated.
Sharon Moe, MD (Indiana University School of Medicine and Roudebush Veterans Administration Medical Center) and her colleagues conducted a study to see whether cinacalet, a drug that lowers parathyroid hormone (PTH), can reduce the risk of fractures in patients receiving dialysis. These patients have elevated PTH levels due to problems with the way the body handles calcium when the kidneys are dysfunctional. In animals, lowering the level of PTH improves bone structure and reduces fractures.
"Our results showed a reduction in fracture risk by 16% to 29% in the patients receiving cinacalcet when adjusted for other fracture risk factors like age," said Dr. Moe.