Cinacalcet: The first calcimimetic approved for secondary hyperparathyroidism

Secondary hyperparathyroidism is a common sequelae of chronic kidney disease. Treatment of this condition with traditional agents such as phosphate binders and vitamin D analogs is often complicated by the development of hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia. Cinacalcet (Sensipar, Amgen) is the first agent in a new class of drugs called calcimimetics. The agent sensitizes the calcium-sensing receptors in the parathyroid gland to extracellular calcium and directly lowers arathyroid hormone levels. Cinacalcet is FDA-approved for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients with chronic kidney disease on dialysis. In this patient population, cinacalcet reduces plasma intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH) levels, serum calcium and phosphorus levels, and the calcium-phosphorus product without associated hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia. Cinacalcet appears to be well-tolerated, with nausea, vomiting, and hypocalcemia as the main adverse events. The drug is also approved for the treatment of hypercalcemia in patients with parathyroid carcinoma and holds promise for the treatment of primary hyperparathyroidism.