Help for Dialysis Patients

New drug helps manage phosphorus levels

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FRIDAY, Oct. 29, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a chewable non-calcium drug that can help kidney patients on dialysis manage their phosphorus levels.

Even while on a low-phosphorus diet, too much of the chemical tends to build up in the blood of some kidney patients. This can lead to bone pain, skeletal deformities and broken bones, and raise a person's risk of heart disease, according to Shire Pharmaceuticals, maker of the new drug, Fosrenol.

The chewable tablet can be taken without water, a plus for many high-phosphorus kidney patients who must otherwise restrict fluid intake, the company said in a statement.

Of the roughly 20 million Americans who have some form of kidney disease, more than 512,000 have end-stage renal disease and thus may be eligible for the drug, the company said.

To learn more about Fosrenol, visit the company's Web site.

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