Ten-year experience with sevelamer and calcium salts as phosphate binders

Paolo Raggi, Slobodan Vukicevic, Rosa Maria Moysés, Katherine Wesseling, David M Spiegel
Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: CJASN 2010, 5: S31-40
Most patients with chronic kidney disease experience abnormalities in serum calcium, phosphorus, parathyroid hormone, and vitamin D metabolism. These can lead to vascular calcification (VC), which has been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease and mortality. Although hyperphosphatemia is believed to be a risk factor for mortality and VC, no randomized trial was ever designed to demonstrate that lowering phosphate reduces mortality. Nonetheless, binders have been used extensively, and the preponderance of evidence shows that sevelamer slows the development of VC whereas calcium salts do not. Four studies have demonstrated a slower progression of VC with sevelamer than with calcium-containing binders, although a fifth study showed nonsuperiority. Conversely, the results on mortality with sevelamer have been variable, and data on calcium-based binders are nonexistent. Improved survival with sevelamer was demonstrated in a small randomized clinical trial, whereas a larger randomized trial failed to show a benefit. In addition, preclinical models of renal failure and preliminary clinical data on hemodialysis patients suggest a potential benefit for bone with sevelamer. Meanwhile, several randomized and observational studies suggested no improvement in bone density and fracture rate, and a few noted an increase in total and cardiovascular mortality in the general population given calcium supplements. Although additional studies are needed, there are at least indications that sevelamer may improve vascular and bone health and, perhaps, mortality in hemodialysis patients, whereas data on calcium-based binders are lacking.

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