Medication Monitor

Generic Name (Trade Name—Company)
October 22, 2015

Patiromer for oral suspension

(Veltassa—Relypsa Inc.)
New drug lowers potassium levels in patients with hyperkalemia

Patiromer for oral suspension has received FDA approval for treatment of hyperkalemia, a serious condition in which the amount of potassium in the blood is too high.

Hyperkalemia typically occurs in patients with acute or chronic kidney disease or heart failure, particularly in those who are taking drugs that inhibit the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, which regulates blood pressure and fluid balance in the body.

Patiromer for oral suspension, a powdered medication that patients mix with water and take by mouth, works by binding potassium in the gastrointestinal tract, decreasing its absorption. In clinical trials, patiromer was effective in lowering potassium levels in hyperkalemic participants with chronic kidney disease on at least one drug that inhibited the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system.

In clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions reported by participants taking patiromer were constipation, decreased magnesium levels in the blood, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, and flatulence. Use of the agent is not appropriate for rapid correction of severe hyperkalemia because lowering of serum potassium may take hours to days.

Patiromer has a boxed warning because it binds many other orally administered drugs, which could decrease their absorption and reduce their effects. The warning recommends taking it and any other orally administered medication at least 6 hours apart.

The drug must be dispensed with a patient Medication Guide that describes important information about its uses and risks.