Nicotinic acid and nicotinamide: a review of their use for hyperphosphatemia in dialysis patients

Pharmacotherapy. 2013 Jun;33(6):683-90. doi: 10.1002/phar.1258. Epub 2013 Mar 21.


Phosphate binders have traditionally been used to treat hyperphosphatemia, a common complication in patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD). New evidence suggests that nicotinic acid and its metabolites may effectively decrease phosphorus absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, thereby reducing serum phosphorus concentrations. We conducted a literature search to identify studies of patients with ESRD on dialysis that evaluated the role of niacin and related compounds in decreasing serum phosphorus levels. We searched PubMed using the search terms niacin, nicotinic acid, niacinamide, nicotinamide and hyperphosphatemia. Limits were set to include only those articles published since 2002, conducted in human subjects, and written in the English language. Review articles captured through this process were mined for references to other primary literature that may not have been returned through the initial search. All studies were included if they met the search criteria and were conducted in patients with ESRD who received either hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. To identify current, ongoing studies, another search was conducted through Among the seven studies that met our exclusion criteria, three used nicotinic acid as the therapeutic intervention and four used nicotinamide. Both nicotinic acid and nicotinamide were effective in significantly reducing serum phosphorus concentrations in patients with ESRD on either hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. Additional, large-scale studies that assess the appropriate dose as well as long-term safety and efficacy are recommended before clinicians can confirm their place in therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Hyperphosphatemia / drug therapy*
  • Hyperphosphatemia / etiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Niacin / pharmacology
  • Niacin / therapeutic use*
  • Niacinamide / pharmacology
  • Niacinamide / therapeutic use*
  • Peritoneal Dialysis
  • Phosphorus / blood
  • Renal Dialysis*


  • Niacinamide
  • Niacin
  • Phosphorus