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Oral Medicine Normalizes Blood Potassium

When your kidneys are no longer able to manage the day-to-day demands of filtering waste and excess water from your blood, your health and quality of life depends on following your doctor’s orders to eat a renal-friendly diet and take medications to manage your condition. Fortunately, many people effectively manage renal disease for years before surgery or other forms of treatment are required.

Now there may be one more way to manage renal disease that’s less invasive and less expensive than other methods used to treat patients with failing kidneys. It’s an experimental medication designed to help control potassium levels. Too much potassium in the blood, (the medical term for this is hyperkalemia) is a common problem associated with renal disease. Left unchecked, excess potassium can weaken the heart muscle, slow heart rate, and may even cause a life-threatening arrhythmia.

In other words, anything you can do to maintain normal potassium levels when you have kidney disease can protect your health. Eating foods low in potassium, sodium, phosphorous, and protein is recommended for people with renal disease. We’ve made it easy for people with renal disease to eat healthy with customized meals at MagicKitchen.com. But diet isn’t the only strategy you can use to control potassium levels.

In a recent study presented at the National Kidney Foundation Spring Clinical Meeting, researchers discussed the results of a medication called ZS-9 designed to help people with renal disease. Researchers recruited 1,000 people for the study who had renal disease and high levels of potassium in their blood. The study participants took an oral dose of ZS-9 three times a day. Researchers found that within 48 hours, potassium levels were restored to normal.

“This is a major change in the way to treat hyperkalemia,” says lead researcher Dr. Wajeh Y. Qunibi. It’s significantly less expensive than a kidney transplant and other costly forms of treatment for people with renal disease. The study demonstrated that treating patients with renal disease and high potassium levels using this medication is safe and effective.

If you have renal disease, eating a diet specifically designed to manage your condition can help. Taking necessary medications can too. You may also want to ask your doctor about the medication ZS-9, also known as sodium zirconium cyclosilicate.