There are no drugs that can treat primary hyperparathyroidism. This disease is caused by a tumor and there is no drug that can be taken that will counteract the effects of the tumor. The tumor must be removed surgically. Occasionally doctors will try to slow down the process of osteoporosis by prescribing an osteoporosis drug that was designed to prevent osteoporosis in post-menopausal females. This does not work. There has never been a scientific study showing that giving these drugs can help prevent osteoporosis in a patient with hyperparathyroidism. There has never been a study showing that prescription osteoporosis medications can allow a patient to delay or avoid parathyroid surgery. These drugs were not designed for patients with hyperparathyroidism and are not recommended by any of the manufacturers of these drugs for this purpose. These drugs may be of benefit AFTER the parathyroid tumor has been removed, but there is no evidence that they will help as long as the parathyroid tumor remains. The osteoporosis will continue to progress as long as the parathyroid tumor exists.
Patients with “secondary” hyperparathyroidism because they have renal failure and are on dialysis are often given a drug called Sensipar (cinacalcet). This drug does not help patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (patients not on kidney dialysis). Occasionally doctors will prescribe Sensipar to help bring down a high calcium level. This drug can do this, but it does not bring down the PTH level. Decreasing the calcium level without making the PTH level go into the normal range is not helpful, and may actually make things worse. Several scientific studies have shown that patients with primary hyperparathyroidism who took Sensipar had a worsening of their osteoporosis. Sensipar is not an alternative to parathyroid surgery. At least a third of patients taking this drug become sick and must stop taking it. Virtually every patient (even those over 90 years of age) can have a mini parathyroid operation to cure their hyperparathyroidism very quickly and safely. Using Sensipar as an alternative to mini-surgery is typically not recommended.
For more information on this topic: http://www.parathyroid.com/Sensipar-high-calcium.htm