Bananas & Potatoes? CKD & Dialysis Patients Get FDA Approval For First Potassium Drug In 50 Years




“Too much potassium in the blood (Hyperkalemia) can lead to dangerous, even fatal, changes in heart rhythm,” said Dr. Norman Stockbridge (Director of the Division of Cardiovascular and Renal Products for FDA). “It is important to have treatment options for Hyperkalemia available to patients.” Hyperkalemia occurs often in those with Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients, and that is why it is exciting to hear news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Veltassa to treat Hyperkalemia.

Veltesa is the first new medication approved by the FDA to treat Hyperkalemia in more than 50 years, according to the drug company, Relypsa. Potassium is found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, meat, milk, yogurt, chocolate, nuts, seeds and beans. High potassium can cause problems such as weakness, muscle cramps, tiredness, irregular heartbeat and even heart attack.

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The newly approved, groundbreaking drug is a powdered medication that patients mix with water, and similar to phosphorus binders, the drug  binds to potassium within the gastrointestinal tract and is then naturally excreted from the body.

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Could the new medication allow an easement on the restrictions of higher potassium foods such as bananas, beans, potatoes, and more? Well, that is a discussion each Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patient should have with their Healthcare Teams. encourages those interested in knowing more about if Veltesa is the best medication for them, to print this article and share it with their Nephrologists during their next check up. 

Still, strive to keep your potassium in balance. If you are having difficulty with high potassium, then try the following: 

  • Limit foods that are high in potassium.
  • Limit milk and milk products or replace with nondairy substitutes.
  • Discard liquids from canned fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid salt substitutes and other seasonings with potassium.
  • Read labels on packaged foods and avoid potassium chloride.
  • Pay attention to serving size.
  • Don’t skip Dialysis or shorten treatment times.
  • Leach (soak in cold water for 2 to 3 hours) high-potassium vegetables to remove some of the potassium.

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