electrolyte imbalances caused by
kidney failure can be difficult, because many
medicines lower some electrolyte levels while raising other levels. Your
doctor may need to regularly monitor your electrolyte levels.
chronic kidney disease and kidney failure
potassium levels above the normal range
(hyperkalemia). Medicines used to lower potassium
levels may include:
Potassium binders, such
as sodium polystyrene sulfonate (Kayexalate).
Diuretics, which increase the amount of
potassium released by the kidneys through the urine. This may be an option if
you have some remaining kidney function.
Hemodialysis is the best way to lower potassium levels
if kidney failure has developed rapidly and potassium levels are very
Calcium and phosphorus
Kidney failure causes an increased breakdown of bone
and abnormal metabolism of
vitamin D, and
parathyroid hormone (PTH). This often leads to a bone
disease called renal osteodystrophy. Medicines used to restore proper
metabolism of these chemicals may include:
Calcium-containing phosphate binders, such as calcium acetate and calcium carbonate. They are used to raise levels of calcium
and lower levels of phosphorus in the bloodstream. Phosphate binders that
contain aluminum should be avoided, to prevent aluminum poisoning.
Non-calcium phosphate binders, which are
calcium- and aluminum-free. Examples are sevelamer and lanthanum. They are also used to
control serum phosphate and reduce PTH levels.
Vitamin D3, which may increase calcium levels and help store excess
phosphate in bone. While taking vitamin D3, you will be watched closely for hypercalcemia.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.