A chewable phosphate binder option does not reduce the cardiovascular risk for late-stage kidney disease patients who are not on dialysis, a seven-year trial has found.

Cardiovascular disease is the most likely cause of death for chronic kidney disease patients and is linked to high phosphate levels. Phosphate binders have been widely used to lower this risk along with potential damage to bone health. Lanthanum carbonate (Fosrenol) is an aluminum-free, calcium-free option routinely prescribed for this use. Although it has been shown to provide possible protection for dialysis patients, the new trial did not show heart-health benefits for non-dialysis participants with stage three or four chronic kidney disease, reported Nigel Toussaint, M.D., from The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Australia.

Among more than 270 patients across 18 hospitals, lanthanum carbonate did not make a difference in heart disease indicators such as arterial stiffness or aortic calcification when compared to placebo, Toussaint and colleagues wrote.

“The pill and symptom burden along with the economic impact for people with chronic diseases is very high, and if we can determine that certain treatments provide limited benefit then that is just as important as finding something that works,” concluded Rob Walker, M.D., from Dunedin Hospital, New Zealand.