Evidence basis for integrated management of mineral metabolism in patients with end-stage renal disease

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Treatment of mineral metabolism is a mainstay of dialysis care including some of its most widely used and costly pharmaceuticals. Although many mineral metabolites are associated with increased risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease, and other morbidities, few clinical trials are available to guide therapy and most focus on single drug approaches. In practice, providers manage many aspects of mineral metabolism simultaneously in integrated treatment approaches that incorporate multiple agents and changes in the dialysis prescription. The present review discusses the rationale and existing evidence for evaluating integrated, as opposed to single drug, approaches in mineral metabolism.

Recent findings

Drugs used to treat mineral metabolism have numerous, and sometimes, opposing effects on biochemical risk factors, such as fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), calcium, and phosphorus. Although vitamin D sterols raise these risk markers when lowering parathyroid hormone (PTH), calcimimetics lower them. Trials demonstrate that combined approaches best ‘normalize’ the mineral metabolism axis in end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Observations embedded within major trials of calcimimetics reveal that adjustment of calcium-based binders and dialysate calcium is a common approach to adverse effects of these drugs with some initial, but inconclusive, evidence that these co-interventions may impact outcomes.

Summary

The multiple, and often opposing, biochemical effects of many mineral metabolism drugs provides a strong rationale for studying integrated management strategies that consider combinations of drugs and co-interventions as a whole. This remains a current gap in the field with opportunities for clinical trials.

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