Drugs Often Prescribed To Chronic Kidney Disease Patients On Dialysis Found To Be High In Phosphorus

image courtesy of abcnews.com

image courtesy of abcnews.com

High blood levels of phosphorus in Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients can weaken bones, cause joint pain, skin itching, blood flow complications due to the buildup of calcium deposits in arteries; leading to Heart Disease and even death. Hence, Rutgers University Researchers were alarmed when they found high levels of phosphorus in life preserving medications, commonly prescribed to Chronic Kidney Disease patients on Dialysis. 

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According to Renal and Urology News, "While the presence of phosphorus in medications is listed on their labels, the amounts were essentially unknown." That is until a Rutgers University Professor, Richard Sherman, lead a team and took a closer look. “These drugs are ‘cures’ given by physicians,” said Sherman. “As their phosphorus content may well be injurious [cause injury], there is a moral imperative [urgency] that action be taken to ameliorate [improve] it.”

Recommended Reading: When Should Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Take Phosphorus Binders To Make Them Most Effective?

Although, Dialysis removes some of the phosphorus from Chronic Kidney Disease patients' blood, it is relatively inefficient as the average Hemodialysis treatment removes just 900 to 1,000 milligrams which is less than most Americans consume in one day. Hence, Chronic Kidney Disease patients ultimately trust that the medication prescribed to them will help to enhance their Dialysis Treatments and/or improve their health outcomes, and not worsen their complications. 

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Rutgers University Researchers found, however, that the level of phosphorus in commonly prescribed medications may be a substantial burden on some Dialysis patients' overall health because of their high levels of phosphorus.  Researchers suggested that 23 of the 200 "most-prescribed medications" listed phosphorus containing ingredients, but not their amounts. Specific drugs found to have high levels of phosphorus included  Amlodipine (Calcium Channel Blocker medication which treats high blood pressure or chest pain), Lisinopril (ACE inhibitor that treats high blood pressure and heart failure) and Paroxetine (Treats depression, stress, panic and anxiety disorders).

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Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients should know that the levels of phosphorus did not necessarily increase with the size of the dose or due to brand versus generic prescriptions. In fact, Professor Sherman found that "manufacturers were unaware of the levels of phosphorous in their medications and its potential clinical importance to patients with kidney disease." Researchers suggested that the level of phosphorus in a specific drug could vary greatly by the region in which it is manufactured.

Recommended Reading: When Is It Alright For Chronic Kidney Disease Patients To Eat Food That May Be High In Phosphorus?

Still, Chronic Kidney Disease patients can help protect themselves by sharing this article with their Nephrologists and ensuring that they are taking "Dialysis Safe" medications which are in fact known to be lower in phosphorus. To further ensure Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patient safety, sign the petition below which professor Sherman and other Researchers originated to request that the Commissioner at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration require drug manufacturers  to report the phosphorus content of their products and, when equal to 10 mg or more, note this in the Warning/Precaution and Special Population sections of the product's package insert. The petition can be viewed and signed below.

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