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(se VEL a mer)

Index Terms

  • Sevelamer Carbonate
  • Sevelamer Hydrochloride

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling. [DSC] = Discontinued product

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Packet, Oral, as carbonate:

Renvela: 0.8 g (1 ea, 90 ea); 2.4 g (1 ea, 90 ea) [citrus flavor]

Tablet, Oral, as carbonate:

Renvela: 800 mg

Generic: 800 mg [DSC]

Tablet, Oral, as hydrochloride:

Renagel: 400 mg, 800 mg

Brand Names: U.S.

  • Renagel
  • Renvela

Pharmacologic Category

  • Phosphate Binder


Sevelamer (a polymeric compound) binds phosphate within the intestinal lumen, limiting absorption and decreasing serum phosphate concentrations without altering calcium, aluminum, or bicarbonate concentrations.


Not systemically absorbed



Onset of Action

Reduction in serum phosphorus has been demonstrated after 1-2 weeks (Burke, 1997; Chertow, 1997).

Use: Labeled Indications

Reduction or control of serum phosphorous in patients with chronic kidney disease on hemodialysis


Bowel obstruction


Oral: Note: The dosing of sevelamer carbonate and sevelamer hydrochloride are similar; when switching from one product to another, the same dose (on a mg per mg basis) should be utilized.

Children (off-label use): In a pilot study of 17 pediatric patients aged 11.8 ± 3.7 years on hemodialysis (n=3) or peritoneal dialysis (n=14), initial doses of 121 ± 50 mg/kg/day (4.5 ± 5 g/day) were used. Doses were adjusted based on the serum phosphorus with final doses of 163 ± 46 mg/kg (6.7 ± 2.4 g/day) without any adverse effects (Mahdavi, 2003). In a study of 18 patients aged 0.9-18 years with chronic kidney disease, a mean dose of 140 ± 86 mg/kg/day (5.38 ± 3.24 g/day) resulted in good phosphorus control with minimal adverse effects. Initial doses were based on prior phosphate-binder dose and were adjusted based on the serum phosphorus (Pieper, 2006).

Adults: Patients not taking a phosphate binder: 800-1600 mg 3 times/day with meals; the initial dose may be based on serum phosphorous levels:

>5.5 mg/dL to <7.5 mg/dL: 800 mg 3 times/day

≥7.5 mg/dL to <9.0 mg/dL: 1200-1600 mg 3 times/day

≥9.0 mg/dL: 1600 mg 3 times/day

Maintenance dose adjustment based on serum phosphorous concentration (goal range of 3.5-5.5 mg/dL; maximum dose studied was equivalent to 13 g/day [sevelamer hydrochloride] or 14 g/day [sevelamer carbonate]):

>5.5 mg/dL: Increase by 400-800 mg per meal at 2-week intervals

3.5-5.5 mg/dL: Maintain current dose

<3.5 mg/dL: Decrease by 400-800 mg per meal

Dosage adjustment when switching between phosphate-binder products: 667 mg of calcium acetate is equivalent to ~800 mg sevelamer (carbonate or hydrochloride)

Conversion based on dose per meal:

Calcium acetate 667 mg: Convert to 800 mg Renagel/Renvela

Calcium acetate 1334 mg: Convert to 1600 mg as Renagel/Renvela (800 mg tablets x 2) or 1200 mg as Renagel (400 mg tablets x 3)

Calcium acetate 2001 mg: Convert to 2400 mg as Renagel/Renvela (800 mg tablets x 3) or 2000 mg as Renagel (400 mg tablets x 5)

Dosage adjustment in renal impairment: No dosage adjustment provided in manufacturer’s labeling (has not been studied).

Dosage adjustment in hepatic impairment: No dosage adjustment provided in manufacturer’s labeling.


Powder for oral suspension: Mix powder with water prior to administration. The 0.8 g packet should be mixed with 30 mL of water and the 2.4 g packet should be mixed with 60 mL of water (multiple packets may be mixed together using the appropriate amount of water).


Must be administered with meals.

Powder for oral suspension: Stir vigorously to suspend mixture just prior to drinking; powder does not dissolve. Drink within 30 minutes of preparing and resuspend just prior to drinking.

Tablets: Swallow whole; do not crush, chew, or break.

Dietary Considerations

Take with meals. Reduced levels of folic acid, and vitamins D, E, and K may occur; most hemodialysis patients in clinical trials received vitamin supplementation.


Store at controlled room temperature of 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15°C to 30°C (59°F to 86°F). Protect from moisture.

Drug Interactions

Calcitriol (Systemic): Sevelamer may decrease the serum concentration of Calcitriol (Systemic). Monitor therapy

Cholic Acid: Sevelamer may decrease the absorption of Cholic Acid. Management: Administer cholic acid at least 1 hour before or 4 to 6 hours after administration of any bile acid-binding products, such as sevelamer, to minimize the potential for a significant interaction. Consider therapy modification

CycloSPORINE (Systemic): Sevelamer may decrease the serum concentration of CycloSPORINE (Systemic). Monitor therapy

Levothyroxine: Sevelamer may decrease the serum concentration of Levothyroxine. Management: Consider separating administration of sevelamer and levothyroxine by at least several hours whenever possible in order to decrease the risk of a significant interaction. Consider therapy modification

Mycophenolate: Sevelamer may decrease the serum concentration of Mycophenolate. Management: Administer mycophenolate at least 2 hours prior to sevelamer administration. Consider therapy modification

Quinolone Antibiotics: Sevelamer may decrease the absorption of Quinolone Antibiotics. Management: Administer oral quinolones at least 2 hours before or 6 hours after sevelamer. Consider therapy modification

Tacrolimus (Systemic): Sevelamer may decrease the serum concentration of Tacrolimus (Systemic). Monitor therapy

Adverse Reactions


Endocrine & metabolic: Metabolic acidosis (children: 34% [Pieper, 2006]); adults: Frequency not defined)

Gastrointestinal: Vomiting (22%), nausea (20%), diarrhea (19%), dyspepsia (16%)

1% to 10%:

Endocrine & metabolic: Hypercalcemia (5% to 7%)

Gastrointestinal: Abdominal pain (9%), constipation (8%), flatulence (8%), peritonitis (peritoneal dialysis: 8%)

Postmarketing and/or case reports: Fecal impaction, intestinal obstruction (rare), intestinal perforation (rare)


Disease-related concerns:

• Gastrointestinal disease: Use with caution in patients with gastrointestinal disorders including dysphagia, swallowing disorders, severe gastrointestinal motility disorders (including constipation), or major gastrointestinal surgery.

Concurrent drug therapy issues:

• Gastrointestinal binding: Sevelamer may bind to some drugs in the gastrointestinal tract and decrease their absorption. When changes in absorption of oral medications may have significant clinical consequences (such as antiarrhythmic and antiseizure medications), these medications should be taken at least 1 hour before or 3 hours after a dose of sevelamer.

• Vitamins: May cause reductions in vitamin D, E, K, or folic acid absorption.

Dosage form specific issues:

• Tablets: Should not be taken apart or chewed; broken or crushed tablets will rapidly expand in water/saliva and may be a choking hazard.

Monitoring Parameters

Serum chemistries, including bicarbonate and chloride

Serum calcium and phosphorus: Frequency of measurement may be dependent upon the presence and magnitude of abnormalities, the rate of progression of CKD, and the use of treatments for CKD-mineral and bone disorders (KDIGO, 2009):

CKD stage 3: Every 6-12 months

CKD stage 4: Every 3-6 months

CKD stage 5 and 5D: Every 1-3 months

Periodic 24-hour urinary calcium and phosphorus; magnesium; alkaline phosphatase every 12 months or more frequently in the presence of elevated PTH; creatinine, BUN, albumin; intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH) every 3-12 months depending on CKD severity

Pregnancy Risk Factor


Pregnancy Considerations

Adverse events were observed in animal reproduction studies. Sevelamer is not absorbed systemically; however, it may cause a reduction in the absorption of some vitamins.

Patient Education

• Discuss specific use of drug and side effects with patient as it relates to treatment. (HCAHPS: During this hospital stay, were you given any medicine that you had not taken before? Before giving you any new medicine, how often did hospital staff tell you what the medicine was for? How often did hospital staff describe possible side effects in a way you could understand?)

• Patient may experience diarrhea or flatulence. Have patient report immediately to prescriber severe constipation, considerable nausea, significant dyspepsia, or dysphagia (HCAHPS).

• Educate patient about signs of a significant reaction (eg, wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat). Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Patient should consult prescriber for additional questions.

Intended Use and Disclaimer: Should not be printed and given to patients. This information is intended to serve as a concise initial reference for healthcare professionals to use when discussing medications with a patient. You must ultimately rely on your own discretion, experience and judgment in diagnosing, treating and advising patients.