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Sevelamer tablets (Renagel® and Renvela®)

Patient information A-Z

What are sevelamer tablets and what do they do?

Sevelamer (Renagel® and Renvela® ) tablets belong to a group of medicines known as phosphate binders.

Normally your kidneys can control the level of most of the substances in the blood. However, when the kidneys are not working well phosphates can build up in the blood and can cause problems. When phosphate builds up in the blood it can combine with calcium in the blood and this mixture can cause damage by being deposited on the blood vessel walls. It can also cause itchiness and affect the strength of the bones and joints.

In order to control your phosphate levels you will be given advice on how to lower your phosphate intake by adjusting your diet, but phosphate binders are often prescribed in addition to this.

Sevelamer tablets prevent the absorption of phosphates into the bloodstream as they bind to the phosphate in your food. The combination is then passed out in your stools.

Why am I prescribed sevelamer tablets?

Sevelamer tablets have been prescribed for you to take as the phosphate level in your blood is high and Sevelamer tablets may help to lower this in addition to a low phosphate diet.

How do I take my sevelamer tablets?

  • These tablets are best taken at the beginning of meals. They should be swallowed whole with water.
  • Phosphate binders only work if taken with foods containing phosphate.
  • They should be taken with all meals. They may also need to be taken with snacks too – your doctor, nurse or dietitian will discuss with you exactly when to take the binders.
  • Your doctor, dietician or specialist nurse will advise you how may tablets to take with each meal.

Do I need to have any tests or be monitored because I am taking sevelamer tablets?

The levels of phosphate in your blood will be monitored regularly by either your GP or the hospital staff.

Are there any side effects?

The most common side effects to sevelamer tablets are constipation or diarrhoea and feeling sick.

These side effects should be mild but if you have any concerns about these or any other side effects please contact your doctor or specialist nurse for advice.

Are there any problems taking sevelamer tablets with any other medications?

Phosphate binders should not be taken at the same time as iron tablets, or some antibiotics, as this makes both ineffective. Take phosphate binders before a meal and iron tablets one hour after the meal. If you are prescribed any antibiotics discuss with either your doctor or pharmacist when these should be taken.

Only take tablets prescribed for you by your doctor and check with your pharmacist before taking any new medicines.

Further information about your tablet can be found in the patient information leaflet found in the tablet/ capsule box or on the container.

Further information

Further information about your tablet can be found in the patient information leaflet found in the tablet/ capsule box or on the container.

If you have any other questions about your medication, please contact the medicines helpline on 01223 217502.

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Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151