Efficacy and side-effect profile of sevelamer hydrochloride used in combination with conventional phosphate binders

Joanna M Sturtevant, Carmel M Hawley, Kylie Reiger, David W Johnson, Scott B Campbell, John R Burke, Andrew Bofinger, Nicole M Isbel
Nephrology 2004, 9 (6): 406-13

BACKGROUND: Poor phosphate control is common among patients with end-stage renal disease. Sevelamer hydrochloride has been demonstrated to be a safe and effective phosphate binder when used as a monotherapy. However, cost limits its usefulness in many countries. Data assessing its effectiveness and safety in combination with conventional phosphate binders are lacking.

METHODS: Dialysis patients meeting the following inclusion criteria participated in this study: (i) hyperphosphataemia >1.8 mmol/L (5.6 mg/dL); and (ii) an inability to tolerate currently available binders. The trial was conducted in three phases each lasting 3 months: (i) an observation phase (patients continued on their regular phosphate binders); (ii) a titration phase (sevelamer was added at a dose of 403 mg three times daily with meals, titrated to a maximum of 1209 mg three times daily); and (iii) a maintenance phase.

RESULTS: Twenty-five patients were recruited into the study. Eighteen patients completed all three trial phases. Mean serum phosphate dropped from 2.11 +/- 0.06 mmol/L (6.6 +/- 0.2 mg/dL) during the observation period to 1.91 +/- 0.01 mmol/L (5.9 +/- 0.003 mg/dL) during the maintenance phase (P=0.02). Calcium x phosphate product fell from 5.49 +/- 0.17 mmol2/L2 (68.64 +/- 2.11 mg2 dL2) to 4.89 +/- 0.27 mmol2/L2 (61.36 +/- 3.35 mg2 dL2) (P=0.02). There was no significant change in serum calcium or parathyroid hormone. Total serum cholesterol fell from 3.8 mmol/L (3.4-4.37) 147 mg/dL (131-169) to 3.55 mmol/L (2.97-4.2) 137 mg/dL (115-162) (P=0.02). Serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol also fell significantly from 1.67 +/- 0.10 mmol/L (65 +/- 4 mg/dL) to 1.52 +/- 0.11 mmol/L (59 +/- 4 mg/dL) (P=0.04). The average prescribed dose of sevelamer was 2.4 g/day. Elemental calcium dropped from 3.4 g/day (1.4 to 4.6) to 1.2 g/day (0.6-2.4) (P=0.04). Seventy-two per cent of patients reported mild flatulence, nausea and indigestion. Three patients discontinued treatment because of adverse effects.

CONCLUSIONS: Sevelamer in combination with conventional phosphate binders is effective in lowering serum phosphate and calcium-phosphate product in patients with refractory hyperphosphataemia. Beneficial effects on lipid profile were also observed. Mild gastrointestinal upset is common.

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