Treatment

If your hypercalcemia is mild, you and your doctor might choose to watch and wait, monitoring your bones and kidneys over time to be sure they remain healthy.

Medications

In some cases, your doctor might recommend:

  • Calcitonin (Miacalcin). This hormone from salmon controls calcium levels in the blood. Mild nausea might be a side effect.
  • Calcimimetics. This type of drug can help control overactive parathyroid glands. Cinacalcet (Sensipar) has been approved for managing hypercalcemia.
  • Bisphosphonates. Intravenous osteoporosis drugs, which can quickly lower calcium levels, are often used to treat hypercalcemia due to cancer. Risks associated with this treatment include osteonecrosis of the jaw and certain types of thigh fractures.
  • Denosumab (Prolia, Xgeva). This drug is often used to treat people with cancer-caused hypercalcemia who don't respond well to bisphosphonates.
  • Prednisone. If your hypercalcemia is caused by high levels of vitamin D, short-term use of steroid pills such as prednisone are usually helpful.
  • IV fluids and diuretics. Extremely high calcium levels can be a medical emergency. You might need hospitalization for treatment with IV fluids and diuretics to promptly lower the calcium level to prevent heart rhythm problems or damage to the nervous system.

Surgical and other procedures

Problems associated with overactive parathyroid glands often can be cured by surgery to remove the tissue that's causing the problem. In many cases, only one of a person's four parathyroid glands is affected. A special scanning test uses an injection of a small dose of radioactive material to pinpoint the gland or glands that aren't working properly.