Abbott has launched a new oral form of Zemplar onto the UK market, offering a more convenient therapy option to patients with secondary hyperparathyroidism, a common complication of chronic kidney disease.

Hyperparathyroidism is characterised by a fall in the activation of vitamin D, which boosts levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH), leading to an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus levels and, ultimately, metabolic bone disease.

Zemplar (paricalcitol) works by activating vitamin D receptors and selectively regulating levels of PTH to minimise the effect on the balance of minerals in the body. Importantly, as the drug activates vitamin D in the parathyroid glands and not the intestines or bones, it also reduces the potential of hypercalcaemia, Abbott says.

European regulators first cleared Zemplar as an injection for secondary hyperparathyroidism in 2002, and according to the group, the new formulation “offers both patients and physicians the benefits of an established medication with the convenience and flexibility of a capsule formulation”, which, it claims, “is the preferred method of administration in the UK”.

Commenting on the approval of Zemplar capsules, Daniel Zehnder from the University of Warwick said that using an oral vitamin D receptor activator with a good side-effect profile “is an effective way to prevent and treat the detrimental side effects caused by the disruption of the vitamin D hormonal system in patients with chronic kidney disease”.