Phosphate Fighter

Drug helps cut mineral levels in dialysis patients

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WEDNESDAY, March 5, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Britain's Shire Pharmaceuticals Group Plc. says it has received conditional approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market fosrenol, a drug used to treat high phosphate blood levels in kidney dialysis patients.

As many as 80 percent of the nation's estimated 269,000 dialysis patients experience this condition, medically known as hyperphosphataemia, Shire says. Left untreated, the condition can lead to bone pain and a higher risk of fractures. And it has been linked to cardiovascular disease, which accounts for nearly 50 percent of all deaths among dialysis patients, the company says.

The tablet -- taken at mealtimes -- is chewable, so it doesn't have to be taken with water. Dialysis patients often need to restrict fluid intake.

In a press release, Shire says FDA approval of the phosphate binding agent is conditioned on "a number of remaining questions," which aren't specified. It says the drug should be available in the United States sometime this year.

For more information about dialysis and kidney failure, visit the National Library of Medicine.

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