Eldecalcitol (1α, 25-dihydroxy-2β-[3-hydroxypropyloxy] vitamin D3; ED-71) is a new analog of the active form of vitamin D. Eldecalcitol has recently been approved for the treatment of osteoporosis in Japan. In addition to regulation of calcium metabolism carried out by conventional vitamin D analogs, eldecalcitol possesses a strong inhibitory effect on bone resorption and causes a significant increase in bone mineral density. A Phase III clinical trial on osteoporosis showed that eldecalcitol reduced the incidence of new vertebral fractures over 3 years by 26% compared with alfacalcidol. Although the overall risk of nonvertebral fractures was not reduced by eldecalcitol, the risk of wrist fracture was decreased significantly in the eldecalcitol group (71%) compared with the alfacalcidol group. The serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) was normalized by supplementation of native vitamin D in this trial, so the desirable effects on bone by eldecalcitol were considered to be derived from its distinctive pharmacological action. Increased blood calcium was observed in 21% of patients treated with eldecalcitol, and hypercalcemia (.11.5 mg/dL) occurred in 0.4% of eldecalcitol recipients, so serum calcium concentration should be monitored after starting eldecalcitol treatment. Eldecalcitol has dual effects on the metabolism of bone and calcium and is useful for the treatment of osteoporosis, especially for elderly patients (who frequently suffer from vitamin D deficiency). This article reviews the clinical efficacy and safety of eldecalcitol in the treatment of osteoporosis.
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