How often, and when should I take phosphate binders?

-Answered by Judy Beto, RhD, RD

Phosphorus is controlled as part of normal, healthy kidney function. When the kidneys do not work effectively, the level of phosphorus accumulates in the body. Your dialysis clinic measures the amount of phosphorus in your blood during the monthly laboratory tests.

To help keep the blood phosphorus to a normal level, you may be asked to take phosphate binders. These binders are medications that remove the phosphorus from the food as it’s being digested.

You must take your phosphate binders at the right time to “grab” the phosphorus in the food you are eating. Your phosphate binder won’t work right if you don’t take enough binders or don’t take them at the right time.  Most people reached their phosphorus goal with 3 to 4 tablets per day. Usually phosphate binders are taken within minutes before or immediately after meals and snacks.

There are many binders on the market so ask your health care provider what binder choices are right for you.