Kidney Diet Tips

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Renagel® phosphorus binder for dialysis patients replaced by newer version of the drug

The pharmaceutical company Genzyme announced Renagel®, a phosphate binding medication widely used throughout the US, will no longer be distributed in the US after September 30th.  A newer binder called Renvela® will replace Renagel®.  One advantage of the newer drug is it contains a carbonate buffer which may help improve serum bicarbonate levels compared to treatment with Renagel®. Renvela® works in the intestines to bind phosphorus and prevent absorption into the blood.

If you are currently on Renagel®, your doctor will change you to Renvela® or another phosphate binder once you have depleted your current supply.

Phosphate binders are prescribed to dialysis patients to help control phosphorus in the blood. When kidneys no longer work, the ability to excrete phosphorus is lost and levels build up in the blood and tissues. High phosphorus causes bone and heart problems, itching, calcification and increases risk of hospitalization or death.

Timing is important when taking phosphate binders. The main action occurs in the intestines as food is digested.  It’s important to take binders immediately before eating or during the meal or snack as prescribed by your doctor.

Binders, a low phosphorus diet and adequate dialysis all work together to successfully keep phosphorus in control.

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Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara Colman, RD, CDE

Sara is a renal dietitian with over 20 years experience working with people with diabetes and kidney disease. She is co-author of the popular kidney cookbook "Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook". Sara is currently the Manager of Kidney Care Nutrition for DaVita. She analyzes recipes and creates content, resources and tools for the kidney community. In her spare time Sara loves to spend time with her young grandson, including fun times together in her kitchen.