A dearth of data: the problem of phosphorus in prescription medications

Kidney Int. 2015 Jun;87(6):1097-9. doi: 10.1038/ki.2015.67. Epub 2015 Mar 11.


A high dietary intake of phosphorus is considered by most to be a significant health threat for dialysis patients. Efforts to include the phosphorus content of foods on the nutrition label in the US have, to date, been fruitless. Another source of phosphorus, largely unrecognized, is prescription medications. These may contain phosphorus as indicated on their package label; the amount is not quantified. We examined the labels of the branded forms of 200 of the most widely prescribed medications in Dialysis Clinic centers in the United States and found that 23 (11.5%) contained phosphorus. A sampling of different doses and manufacturers (generic and branded) of these drugs was analyzed for phosphorus content and found levels as high as 111.5 mg/dose (40 mg paroxetine). Notable were the phosphorus content of a generic 10 mg lisinopril (32.6 mg) and a generic 10 mg amlodipine (40.1 mg). The significant potential for iatrogenic injury accruing from the use of these drugs warrants efforts at remediation. Specific information on the phosphorus content of medications used by dialysis population needs to be made available to the dialysis community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amlodipine / chemistry
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / chemistry
  • Antihypertensive Agents / chemistry
  • Drug Labeling
  • Drugs, Generic / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Lisinopril / chemistry
  • Paroxetine / chemistry
  • Phosphorus / adverse effects
  • Phosphorus / analysis*
  • Prescription Drugs / adverse effects
  • Prescription Drugs / chemistry*
  • Renal Dialysis*


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Drugs, Generic
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Amlodipine
  • Phosphorus
  • Paroxetine
  • Lisinopril