A Rutgers research project that began as a “shot in the dark” has yielded results that could help many dialysis patients avoid dangerous health problems.
The levels of phosphorus did not necessarily increase with the size of the dose, and brand versus generic forms of medications did not prove to be a factor.
Sherman said he was awarded a grant by Dialysis Clinic, Inc. of Nashville, Tennessee, to fund his research, which began as a “shot in the dark.” He said he did not believe drug makers were withholding information from his team, but rather that the manufacturers were unaware of the levels of phosphorous in their medications and its potential clinical importance to patients with kidney disease.
The issue is further complicated by the number of medications involved, their varying dosages and forms, the potential for changes in inert ingredients over time and the wide array of generic manufacturers. The level of phosphorus in a specific drug could vary simply by the region in which it is manufactured, Sherman noted.
Given those factors, Sherman said the most practical solution would be raising awareness among physicians who treat dialysis patients and identifying those medications that may not be “dialysis safe” because of high phosphorus content.