Journal of Nephrology

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 755–765 | Cite as

Iron-based phosphate binders: a paradigm shift in the treatment of hyperphosphatemic anemic CKD patients?



The partial correction of anemia and the normalization of phosphate and blood pressure are the mainstay of treatment of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Available anti-hypertensive drugs, erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs) and iron supplements have resolved quite satisfactorily the goal of controlling hypertension and partially correcting anemia. Unfortunately, the treatment of hyperphosphatemia is still far from resolved. Phosphate binders have poor tolerability and/or limited efficacy, leading to the prescription of many tablets that achieve only a mild-to-moderate effect. Moreover, increased consumption of tablets is associated with increased low tolerability, thus jeopardizing patient compliance and, in turn, the efficacy of phosphate binding. Compared to calcium-free binders, the cheaper calcium salts increase the risk of hypercalcemia, calciphylaxis and vascular calcification and possibly all-cause mortality. Calcium-free phosphate binders decrease serum phosphate levels without increasing the serum calcium concentration. The higher phosphate-binding efficacy of lanthanum carbonate compared to sevelamer should be balanced against its lack of pleiotropic effects on lipid metabolism and inflammation and the accumulation in bones. New iron-based phosphate binders are available. In addition to their phosphate binding capacity, they could also be useful to treat anemia. Iron citrate is seeking for such an indication because its iron absorption is significant. This could be of clinical importance, particularly in CKD patients not on dialysis, obviating the need for extra oral iron administration and possibly favoring compliance. In conclusion, the use of iron-based phosphate binders with significant iron absorption properties could represent a novel paradigm for correcting anemia and hyperphosphatemia in CKD patients.


Anaemia Hyperphosphatemia Iron Phosphate binders Chronic kidney disease Iron citrate 


Compliance with ethical standrads

Ethical statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

No funding was obtained for this paper. F Locatelli is or was a member of an advisory board and/or speaker at symposia sponsored by Amgen, Keryx, Roche, Astellas, Akebia and Vifor-Fresenius Pharma. L Del Vecchio was a member of Advisory Boards for Roche and Astellas.


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© Italian Society of Nephrology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nephrology and DialysisAlessandro Manzoni Hospital, ASST LeccoLeccoItaly

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