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Open access

Guido Zavatta and Bart L Clarke

The first adjunctive hormone therapy for chronic hypoparathyroidism, recombinant human parathyroid hormone (1–84) (rhPTH(1–84)) was approved by the FDA in January 2015. Since the approval of rhPTH(1–84), growing interest has developed in other agents to treat this disorder in both the scientific community and among pharmaceutical companies. For several reasons, conventional therapy with calcium and activated vitamin D supplementation, magnesium supplementation as needed, and occasionally thiazide-type diuretic therapy remains the mainstay of treatment, while endocrinologists and patients are constantly challenged by limitations of conventional treatment. Serum calcium fluctuations, increased urinary calcium, hyperphosphatemia, and a constellation of symptoms that limit mental and physical functioning are frequently associated with conventional therapy. Understanding how conventional treatment and hormone therapy work in terms of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics is key to effectively managing chronic hypoparathyroidism. Multiple questions remain regarding the effectiveness of PTH adjunctive therapy in preventing or slowing the onset and progression of the classical complications of hypoparathyroidism, such as chronic kidney disease, calcium-containing kidney stones, cataracts, or basal ganglia calcification. Several studies point toward an improvement in the quality of life during replacement therapy. This review will discuss current clinical and research challenges posed by treatment of chronic hypoparathyroidism.

Key points:

  • Conventional therapy with calcium and activated forms of vitamin D are currently the mainstays of treatment for most patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism.

  • Hormone therapy can be administered through FDA-approved once-daily rhPTH(1–84), or off-label multiple-daily injections of teriparatide. The former is the only FDA-approved drug, with safety and efficacy supported by a randomized placebo-controlled trial and open-label long-term extension trial data.

  • Twice-daily teriparatide has been used in children safely for up to 10 years.

  • New pharmacological options that replace the deficient hormone wi ll likely be available within the next few years.

Open access

Lisa Arnetz, Neda Rajamand Ekberg, Kerstin Brismar, and Michael Alvarsson


Dysfunction of the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis has been implicated in type 2 diabetes (T2D). The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of T2D and gender on the HPA axis.


Synthetic ACTH (1 μg) was administered to 21 subjects with T2D (age 62 (54–70) years, 11 men/ten women, HbA1c 49±2 mmol/mol, treated with diet or oral antidiabetic drugs) and 38 controls (age 58 (41–67) years, 20 men/18 women). Fasting basal B-glucose, serum cortisol, insulin, IGF1 and IGFBP1 concentrations were measured, and sampling for all but IGF1 was repeated 30, 60, and 90 min after ACTH injection. Patients took 0.25 mg dexamethasone at 2200–2300 h and returned the next morning for the measurement of serum cortisol concentration.


Cross-sectional study.


Patients with T2D had similar fasting serum cortisol, IGF1 and IGFBP1 concentrations; however, serum cortisol concentration after administration of dexamethasone did not differ between the groups. Healthy women exhibited higher peak cortisol levels compared with healthy men (675±26 vs 582±21 nmol/l, P=0.014), while the peak levels were equally high in men and women with T2D, resulting in a higher peak level in men with T2D compared with healthy men (691±42 vs 582±21 nmol/l, P=0.024). Serum cortisol concentration after administration of dexamethasone did not differ between the groups, nor did IGF1 and IGFBP1.

Novelty of the findings

Some studies have previously indicated disturbed regulation of the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis in subjects with type 2 diabetes (T2D); however, much remains unknown in this area. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to show that the gender difference in the adrenal response to ACTH (with greater reactivity in women) is abolished in T2D. While the clinical implications cannot be determined by this paper, it is known that gender differences exist in the pathogenesis and complications of T2D. Thus, our findings suggest that further research into gender differences in the HPA axis is warranted.


Gender differences in adrenal response to ACTH were abolished in T2D. Men with T2D had a higher peak cortisol compared with controls. Further studies are needed to elucidate the clinical implications.