Phosphorus Binder for Dialysis Patients Now Available in Generic Form
Most people in stage 5 kidney disease on dialysis require phosphorus binder medications when they eat to help maintain normal blood phosphorus levels. A low phosphorus diet is also required. Poor phosphorus control results in bone disease, heart problems and calcification of soft tissues and arteries. Some phosphorus binders work like a sponge to soak up phosphorus before it is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. Other binders work like magnets to attract phosphorus and bind it to another mineral (calcium, magnesium, lanthanum) so it cannot be absorbed.
Branded prescription binders often prescribed include Renagel®, Renvela®, Fosrenol®, Phoslo®, and MagneBind®. There are also several nonprescription calcium based products used as phosphorus binders or calcium supplements.
Recently the FDA approved a generic version of the drug Phoslo®. It is manufactured by Roxane Laboratories and sold as calcium acetate capsules 667 mg. The FDA requires generic drugs to be equivalent to the branded version. For dialysis patients this means phosphorus control will be the same regardless of if they take Phoslo® or the generic form of calcium acetate.
Several things usually occur when a generic version of a drug becomes available. The cost of the generic drug is often lower. Insurance companies may require pharmacies to provide the generic version instead of the brand name medication to save money. Doctors can indicate ‘Dispense as written’ or patients can ask for the non-generic brand. The branded drug may still be available but the extra cost may be passed on to the consumer.
Patients currently taking Phoslo® need to be aware of this change the next time they have their phosphorus binder prescription refilled.
Regardless of which phosphorus binder is prescribed, the most important actions to keep phosphorus levels controlled is to take the prescribed binder with meals and/or snacks in the amount prescribed, maintain a low phosphorus diet and receive adequate dialysis treatments.