Fifty-seven patients who had been receiving maintenance haemodialysis for a mean of 4.6 years were given 0.25-0.5 microgram oral 1,25-dihydroxy (1,25-(OH)2) vitamin D3 or a placebo in a double-blind manner for one to two years. In patients with normal radiographs (mean plasma parathyroid hormone concentration 205 microliterEq/ml) 1,25-(OH)2 vitamin D3 prevented the development of the radiological appearances of hyperparathyroidism. In patients with abnormal radiographs (mean plasma parathyroid concentration 709 microliterEq/ml) 1,25-(OH)2 vitamin D3 arrested or reversed the radiological changes of hyperparathyroidism. Nevertheless, the response was slow and the concentration of the hormone remained considerably raised (mean 445 microliterEq/ml). It is concluded from these results that giving 1,25-(OH)2 vitamin D3 to patients receiving maintenance haemodialysis who have normal hand radiographs or minimal erosions is beneficial. In patients with more advanced hyperparathyroidism parathyroidectomy should be considered unless there is a rapid response.