Treatment of hypopara

National patient organisation for people with any type of parathyroid condition

Must I take my tablets for ever?

Yes. Hypoparathyroidism requires lifelong treatment with oral medication. It is important that you take your tablets every day.

However, if you have temporary post surgical hypoparathyroidism, you will be able to come off medication once your parathyroid glands start to work again. Generally a PTH level of aound 18ng/mL is required for this to be possible.


What is the ‘normal’ calcium reference range?

The normal calcium range is around 2.10 – 2.50mmol/L although different labs may use slightly different ranges. Getting a result back that falls in this ‘normal’ range does not necessarily mean that you will be feeling OK. This range is for ‘normal’ people. You will probably feel extremely symptomatic at each end of this range and feel more comfortable somewhere in the middle. You will find that you have a small window within this range where you feel best.

What calcium level is best for me?

A long term maintenance level of 2.00mmol/L  to 2.25 mmol/L is recommended in order to help protect your kidneys. This may be difficult for some people to achieve.. Maintaining good levels of magnesium and vitamin D3 will help you to tolerate lower calcium levels. Everyone responds differently to medication so treatment must be individually tailored.

What is the aim of  treatment in hypoparathyroidism?

The aim of hypopara treatment is to abolish symptoms, not to restore ‘normal’ calcium levels in the blood. This means that you need to keep your calcium levels high enough to avoid symptoms of hypocalcaemia but low enough to avoid causing problems with the kidneys.

Which tablets will I need to take?

You will need to take a vitamin D analogue and a calcium supplement. You may also need to take magnesium and vitamin D3 supplements to help keep your calcium levels stable.

Vitamin D analogue

Alfacalcidol and Rocaltrol are the brand names of different types of vitamin D analogues which provide calcitriol ( the active vitamin D, or hormone also known as 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol). Alfacalcidol is converted to calcitriol in the liver. Rocaltrol is calcitriol. Alfacalcidol is used more in the UK , Rocaltrol in the USA.

Doses up to 5mcg daily may be  required though around 2 – 3 mcg is more usual. As Alfacalcidol helps your body to absorb calcium from the gut, ie from your diet, the more Alfacalcidol you take the fewer calcium supplements you will need.

If you also have epilepsy please be aware that some of your medicines (Phenobarbitone, Phenytoin, EpanutinÒ , Carbamazepine, TegretolÒ ) reduce the levels of vitamin D in the body. Larger doses than usual of Alfacalcidol may be required to compensate for this effect.*


Calcium supplements are used to back up the Alfacalcidol or Rocaltrol and should be kept to a maximum of 1200 – 2000mg. It is better to get  more calcium from your diet than from supplements. It can be helpful to split your dose through the day rather than take it all in the morning , have a big peak and feel low by bedtime. Calcium levels need to be checked regularly by blood tests.


Magnesium and  calcium act together to help regulate the body’s nerve and muscle tone. We recommend chelated magnesium which is more easily absorbed than other types.

Vitamin D3

There are 2 types of vitamin D. Normally PTH drives the conversion of the vitamin D3 we get from the sun into the active vitamin D hormone. Without PTH you can’t do this and will instead need Alfacalcidol to increase your active vitamin D levels. But you still need to maintain high levels of Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is important for your general health as well as your calcium levels, especially in the winter. Ask your endocrinologist for a blood test. If you are deficient start taking Vitamin D3 supplements. If you are very low you may need to take high dose supplements for a few months before the level will increase.