SEATTLE—New studies presented at the 2016 Annual Dialysis Conference suggest that a chewable iron-based phosphate binder can decrease pill burden and improve serum phosphorus levels in dialysis patients who have hyperphosphatemia.

Linda H. Ficociello, DSc, of Fresenius Medical Care North America, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of pharmacy data from 943 adult in-center hemodialysis patients who switched to sucroferric oxyhydroxide (SO) after using other phosphate binders. Prior to switching to SO, patients had a mean serum phosphorus level of 6.93 mg/dL (putting 13.8% of patients in-range) and took a mean number of 9.7 pills per day. After switching to SO, 25.1% of patients achieved in-range serum phosphorus levels (3.5–5.5 mg/dL, as recommended by Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative guidelines), an 81% increase. Patients’ pill burden dropped to a mean of 3.8 pills per day, a 61% decrease.

Similar findings emerged in a separate and similarly conducted retrospective study of 338 peritoneal dialysis patients with hyperphosphatemia by the same research team. Before switching to SO from other phosphate binders, patients had a mean serum phosphorus level of 6.8 mg/dL (with 14.5% in-range) and took a mean 7.9 phosphate binder pills per day. After switching, the proportion of patients achieving in-range serum phosphorus rose to 26.3%, an 81% increase, and the pill burden dropped to 3.7 pills per day, a 53% decrease.