updated 3/9/2004 3:03:45 PM ET 2004-03-09T20:03:45

A new drug shown to reduce calcium levels in dialysis patients was approved Monday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and should be available in the next few weeks, company officials said.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

In clinical trials involving more than 1,100 patients, the Amgen Inc. drug Sensipar was shown to reduce high-levels of key bone-minerals including calcium in dialysis patients, said Kelly Stoddard, a company spokeswoman.

Too much calcium in the body can cause sometimes-fatal calcification of the bones, blood vessels and cardiovascular system, Stoddard said.

Often, high bone-mineral levels are the result of a condition known as secondary HPT or hyperparathyroidism, a metabolic disorder usually developed by chronic kidney disease patients on dialysis, Stoddard said. Nearly all of the more than 300,000 dialysis patients in the U.S. suffer from the condition.

The drug was also shown to lower calcium in patients with elevated levels due to parathyroid cancer. Common side effects include nausea and vomiting.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments