Ferric citrate for phosphorus control is associated with fewer hospitalizations and reduced costs in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients compared with sevelamer carbonate or calcium acetate, according to a study presented at the National Kidney Foundation’s 2014 Spring Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas.

Roger Rodby, MD, of Rush University in Chicago, and colleagues conducted a secondary analysis of a phase 3 trial that included 441 ESRD patients either on ferric citrate or an active control medication (sevelamer carbonate or calcium acetate). The investigators calculated costs using the 2013 U.S. Renal Data System Annual Data Report.

The researchers found that 34.6% of patients taking ferric citrate were hospitalized at least once during the trial compared with 45.6% of control patients. Infections, gastrointestinal disorders, and cardiac disorders were the main reasons for hospitalization in both groups, and were much more likely in the control group.

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Among all treated patients, researchers identified 181 unique hospitalizations in the ferric citrate group and 239 in the control group, which translated into $1,206,110 ($4,173 per patient) savings for the ferric citrate group.

“Results from this analysis are important given the high costs of treating patients with ESRD,” the authors concluded.