For more than half a century, products containing ion exchange resins have been used in patients with dangerously high levels of potassium. However, there is no convincing evidence that these products are actually effective, according to an article appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN).
"We suspect that if ion exchange resins were introduced today, they would not be approved," comments Richard H. Sterns, MD (Rochester General Hospital, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY).
High potassium levels (hyperkalemia) are a potentially life-threatening problem, commonly occurring in patients with kidney disease. Ion exchange resins, mixed with a cathartic called sorbitol, have long been used to treat hyperkalemia. Millions of doses of this product are prescribed every year in the United States—yet it has never been studied with controlled trials to prove it works. Explains Sterns, "these agents came into widespread use in 1958—four years before drug manufacturers were required to prove the effectiveness of their products before gaining FDA approval. Their approval was essentially 'grandfathered.'"
Last year, the FDA issued a warning against giving ion exchange resins with sorbitol, based on reported cases of potentially fatal bowel injury. Yet pre-mixed preparations of the resin with sorbitol are still marketed and widely used. Sterns asks, "If ion exchange resins were presented to the FDA today, with the data available, would the agency rule them safe and effective?"
The answer, according to Sterns, based on a review of the available data is "probably not." "We found no rigorous scientific evidence that ion exchange resins are effective in ridding the body of excess potassium," says Sterns. "In fact, we found some evidence showing that, on rare occasions, they might be harmful."
"We found no evidence that would meet modern standards for drug approval," Sterns and coauthors conclude. They call for further studies to weigh the harms versus benefits of these products. Meanwhile, they believe that doctors should first try other alternatives to managing high potassium levels, "before turning to these largely unproven and potentially harmful therapies."
Study co-authors are Maria Rojas, Paul Bernstein, and Sreedevi Chennupati, all of Rochester General Hospital.
Disclosures: The authors reported no financial disclosures.
The article, entitled "Ion-Exchange Resins for the Treatment of Hyperkalemia: Are They Safe and Effective?" is available online at http://jasn.asnjournals.org, 2009, doi 10.1681/ASN.2010010079.
The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult our doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN.
Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies. Founded in 1966, the American Society of Nephrology(ASN) is the world's largest professional society devoted to the study of kidney disease. Comprised of 11,000 physicians and scientists, ASN continues to promote expert patient care, to advance medical research, and to educate the renal community. ASN also informs policymakers about issues of importance to kidney doctors and their patients. ASN funds research, and through its world-renowned meetings and first-class publications, disseminates information and educational tools that empower physicians.
Shari Leventhal | EurekAlert!
Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences