"Since only about one-third of ESRD patients have phosphorus levels within acceptable ranges, we need new safe and reliable methods to control phosphorus levels," said Hartmut H. Malluche, M.D., Robert G. Luke Chair in Nephrology, Professor of Medicine and Chief, Division of Nephrology Bone and Mineral Metabolism at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. "Our documentation that FOSRENOL does not have the toxic, bone-softening effect associated with aluminum-based phosphate binders is welcome news for the ESRD community."
Phosphorus, an element found in nearly all foods, is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream. When the kidneys fail, they no longer effectively remove phosphorus, even with the help of blood-cleansing dialysis machines. While the normal adult range for phosphorus is 2.5 to 4.5 mg/dL, the blood phosphorus levels of many patients on dialysis exceed 6.5 mg/dL. Such levels have been linked to a significantly higher illness and death risk for patients who have undergone at least one year of dialysis.
Of the approximately 20 million Americans who have some form of kidney disease, as of 2002, more than 512,000 have developed ESRD, a figure that has grown 400 percent over the last 20 years.
Diet restrictions alone generally cannot control phosphorus levels and patients traditionally manage hyperphosphatemia by taking phosphorus-binding agents at every meal and snack. Such binders help to "soak up" phosphorus in the gastrointestinal tract, before it can be absorbed into the blood. Despite the availability of these agents, it remains a challenge for some ESRD patients to maintain target ranges. According to the National Kidney Foundation's new Kidne