It is well known that hyperparathyroidism begins early in renal failure and progresses, probably not linearly, throughout the natural course of renal diseases and dialysis therapy. Recent progress in basic medical science has improved our understanding of the mechanisms by which the classically known stimuli for parathyroid hormone synthesis and secretion may act, including hypocalcaemia, hyperphosphataemia and vitamin D3 metabolism disturbances. In the treatment of hyperparathyroidism, although some authors stress the benefit of treating one of these stimuli, it is probably more effective to combine the treatment of them all. There is conclusive recent work showing the efficacy of using both CaCO3 and vitamin D3, either in chronic renal failure or in dialysis patients at every stage of hyperparathyroidism. Therefore, the treatment of hyperparathyroidism should start early, long before dialysis, and it should aim to correct any of the causal factors. Both CaCO3 and vitamin D3 derivatives may be used in the prevention and treatment of renal bone disease. The limits of this association are the increasingly often reported adynamic bone disease, which in our experience has not yet given major clinical problems, and hyperphosphataemia. Uncontrolled serum phosphate levels would counterbalance the beneficial effect of vitamin D3 derivatives on hyperparathyroidism.