Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
What Is Sensipar?
Sensipar (cinacalcet) is a calcimimetic agent that decreases levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH), calcium, and phosphorous in the body used to treat hyperparathyroidism (overactive parathyroid glands) in people who are on long-term dialysis for kidney disease. Sensipar is also used to lower calcium levels in people with cancer of the parathyroid gland.
What Are Side Effects of Sensipar?
Common side effects of Sensipar include:
Sensipar can cause low calcium blood levels. Tell your doctor if you have symptoms of low calcium levels including numb or tingling skin, severe muscle spasms, seizures, unusual tiredness, or fast/irregular/pounding heartbeat.
Dosage for Sensipar
The recommended starting oral dose of Sensipar is 30 mg once daily.
What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Sensipar?
Sensipar may interact with chloroquine, conivaptan, diclofenac, imatinib, isoniazid, bladder medications, antibiotics, antidepressants, antifungal medications, ADHD medications, cancer medicines, cough medicine, heart or blood pressure medications, HIV/AIDS medicines, medicine to treat psychiatric disorders, or narcotic pain medications. Tell your doctor all medications you are taking.
Sensipar During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
During pregnancy, Sensipar should be used only when prescribed. It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
Our Sensipar (cinacalcet) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth;
- muscle pain, tightness, or contraction;
- a seizure (convulsions);
- shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain;
- signs of stomach bleeding--bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds; or
- low levels of calcium in your blood--numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth, fast or slow heart rate, muscle tightness or contraction, overactive reflexes.
Common side effects may include:
- nausea, vomiting; or
Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Sensipar (Cinacalcet)
The following adverse reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of labeling:
- Hypocalcemia [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Adynamic Bone Disease [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Hepatic Impairment [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Clinical Trials Experience
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared with rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.
Secondary Hyperparathyroidism In Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease On Dialysis
In three double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials, 1126 patients with CKD on dialysis received study drug (656 Sensipar, 470 placebo) for up to 6 months. The most frequently reported adverse reactions are listed in Table 1.
Seizures were observed in 1.4% (13/910) of Sensipar-treated patients and 0.7% (5/641) of placebo-treated patients across all completed placebo-controlled trials.
Table 1. Adverse Reactions with Frequency ≥ 5% in Patients on Dialysis in Short-Term Studies for up to 6 Months
(n = 470)
(n = 656)
|Pain Chest, Non-Cardiac||4||6|
|Dialysis Access Site Infection||4||5|
|*Included are events that were reported at a greater incidence in the Sensipar group than in the placebo group.|
In a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study of 3883 patients with secondary HPT and CKD receiving dialysis in which patients were treated for up to 64 months (mean duration of treatment was 21 months in the Sensipar group), the most frequently reported adverse reactions (incidence of ≥ 5% in the Sensipar group and a difference ≥ 1% compared to placebo) are listed in Table 2.
Table 2. Frequency of Adverse Reactions in Dialysis Patients Treated for up to 64 Months in a Long-Term Study1
|Placebo (n = 1923)||Sensipar (n = 1938)|
|3699 subject-years||4044 subject-years|
|Percent of subjects reporting Adverse Reactions (%)||90.9||93.2|
|Abdominal pain upper||6.3||8.2|
|Upper respiratory tract infection||6.3||7.6|
|1 Adverse reactions that occurred in ≥ 5% Frequency in the Sensipar group and a difference ≥ 1% compared to the placebo group (Safety Analysis Set)
Crude incidence rate = 100 * Total number of subjects with event/N
n = Number of subjects receiving at least one dose of study drug
Additional adverse reaction rates from the long-term, randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study for Sensipar versus placebo are as follows: seizure (2.5%, 1.6%), rash (2.2%, 1.9%), hypersensitivity reactions (9.4%, 8.3%).
Parathyroid Carcinoma And Primary Hyperparathyroidism
The safety profile of Sensipar in these patient populations is generally consistent with that seen in patients with CKD on dialysis. Forty-six patients were treated with Sensipar in a single-arm study, 29 with Parathyroid Carcinoma and 17 with intractable pHPT. Nine (20%) of the patients withdrew from the study due to adverse events. The most frequent adverse reactions and the most frequent cause of withdrawal in these patient populations were nausea and vomiting. Severe or prolonged cases of nausea and vomiting can lead to dehydration and worsening hypercalcemia so careful monitoring of electrolytes is recommended in patients with these symptoms.
Eight patients died during treatment with Sensipar in this study, 7 with Parathyroid Carcinoma (24%) and 1 (6%) with intractable pHPT. Causes of death were cardiovascular (5 patients), multi-organ failure (1 patient), gastrointestinal hemorrhage (1 patient) and metastatic carcinoma (1 patient). Adverse events of hypocalcemia were reported in three patients (7%).
Seizures were observed in 0.7% (1/140) of cinacalcet-treated patients and 0.0% (0/46) of placebo-treated patients in all clinical studies.
Table 3. Adverse Reactions with Frequency ≥ 10% in a Single-Arm, Open-Label Study in Patients with Primary Hyperparathyroidism or Parathyroid Carcinoma
(n = 29)
(n = 17)
(n = 46)
|n (%)||n (%)||n (%)|
|Number of Subjects Reporting Adverse Reactions||28 (97)||17 (100)||45 (98)|
|Nausea||19 (66)||10 (59)||29 (63)|
|Vomiting||15 (52)||6 (35)||21 (46)|
|Paresthesia||4 (14)||5 (29)||9 (20)|
|Fatigue||6 (21)||2 (12)||8 (17)|
|Fracture||6 (21)||2 (12)||8 (17)|
|Hypercalcemia||6 (21)||2 (12)||8 (17)|
|Anorexia||6 (21)||1 (6)||7 (15)|
|Asthenia||5 (17)||2 (12)||7 (15)|
|Dehydration||7 (24)||0 (0)||7 (15)|
|Anemia||5 (17)||1 (6)||6 (13)|
|Arthralgiaq||5 (17)||1 (6)||6 (13)|
|Constipation||3 (10)||3 (18)||6 (13)|
|Depression||3 (10)||3 (18)||6 (13)|
|Headache||6 (21)||0 (0)||6 (13)|
|Infection Upper Respiratory||3 (10)||2 (12)||5 (11)|
|Pain Limb||3 (10)||2 (12)||5 (11)|
|n=Number of subjects receiving at least one dose of study drug.
In a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 67 patients with primary hyperparathyroidism for whom parathyroidectomy would be indicated on the basis of serum calcium levels, but who are unable to undergo surgery, the most common adverse reactions are listed in Table 4.
Table 4. Adverse Reactions Occurring in ≥ 10% of Subjects in a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study in Patients with Primary Hyperparathyroidism
(n = 34)
(n = 33)
|Nausea||6 (18)||10 (30)|
|Muscle spasms||0 (0)||6 (18)|
|Headache||2 (6)||4 (12)|
|Back pain||2 (6)||4 (12)|
|n = Number of subjects receiving at least one dose of study drug Coded using MedDRA version 16.0|
In 26-week studies of patients with secondary HPT and CKD on dialysis 66% of patients receiving Sensipar compared with 25% of patients receiving placebo developed at least one serum calcium value less than 8.4 mg/dL, whereas, 29% of patients receiving Sensipar compared with 11% of patients receiving placebo developed at least one serum calcium value less than 7.5 mg/dL. Less than 1% of patients in each group permanently discontinued study drug due to hypocalcemia.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in patients with secondary HPT and CKD receiving dialysis in which patients were treated for up to 64 months (mean duration of treatment was 21 months in the cinacalcet group), 75% of patients receiving Sensipar compared with 29% of patients receiving placebo developed at least one serum calcium value less than 8.4 mg/dL and 33% of cinacalcet patients compared with 12% of patients receiving placebo had at least one serum calcium value less than 7.5 mg/dL. Most of the cases of severe hypocalcemia less than 7.5 mg/dL (21/33=64%) occurred during the first 6 months. In this trial, 1.1% of patients receiving Sensipar and 0.1% of patients receiving placebo permanently discontinued study drug due to hypocalcemia.
During a placebo-controlled part of a 52-week study in patients with primary HPT who met criteria for parathyroidectomy on the basis of corrected total serum calcium (> 11.3 mg/dL [2.82 mmol/L] and ≤ 12.5 mg/dL [3.12 mmol/L]), serum calcium less than 8.4 mg/dL was observed in 6.1% (2/33) of Sensipar-treated patients and 0% (0/34) of placebo-treated patients.
The following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of Sensipar. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
- Rash and hypersensitivity reactions (including angioedema and urticaria), and myalgia
- Isolated, idiosyncratic cases of hypotension, worsening heart failure, and/or arrhythmia have been reported in patients with impaired cardiac function
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Sensipar (Cinacalcet)
© Sensipar Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Sensipar Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.