Oral phosphate binders in CKD - is calcium the (only) answer?

Clin Nephrol. 2014 Jun;81(6):389-95. doi: 10.5414/cn108209.


All-cause mortality and cardiovascular- related mortality have both been linked to abnormal serum phosphate concentrations in chronic kidney disease (CKD). Aberrant serum phosphate concentration in patients with CKD has also been associated with adverse cardiac and renal outcomes. Early prevention or management of rising or high serum phosphate concentrations in patients with CKD is now considered to be an important intervention to prevent downstream complications resulting from the poor management of serum calcium and parathyroid hormone (PTH). It is widely considered that starting phosphate binder therapy early, with concurrent dietary management of serum phosphate, constitutes an effective course of interventions, although normalization of serum phosphate in dialysis patients remains atypical, unless specific dialytic measures are also undertaken. Calcium- based phosphate binders are often the first type of binders prescribed due to their low cost. Evidence shows that most phosphate binders are roughly equally effective in lowering serum phosphate concentrations in adults compared to placebo, with a small probability that sevelamer hydrochloride is better than calcium acetate or lanthanum carbonate. However, not all binders are created equal in regards to their safety profiles. The potential for accumulations and toxicities does exist with very long-term continuous exposure. We discuss these issues in the course of this review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Calcium Compounds / administration & dosage*
  • Calcium Compounds / adverse effects
  • Chelating Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Chelating Agents / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Hyperphosphatemia / blood
  • Hyperphosphatemia / diagnosis
  • Hyperphosphatemia / drug therapy*
  • Intestinal Absorption / drug effects
  • Phosphates / blood*
  • Phosphorus, Dietary / metabolism
  • Renal Dialysis* / adverse effects
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / blood
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / therapy*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Calcium Compounds
  • Chelating Agents
  • Phosphates
  • Phosphorus, Dietary