Shire’s Fosrenol can dramatically reduce the number of tablets that patients with end-stage renal disease need to take to control high blood phosphate levels, according to the results of a ‘real world’ clinical trial.

The data, reported at the USA’s National Kidney Foundation’s 2006 clinical meeting in Chicago, suggested that switching patients taking other phosphate binders to Shire’s product reduced the number of tablets patients needed to take by 30% to 40%, without any loss in phosphate control, which was welcomed by both patients and doctors.

And for patients already requiring combination therapy for effective control, the reduction in tablet burden was even greater at around 56%, according to Shire.

52% of physicians expressed overall satisfaction with their phosphate binder therapies at the start of the study, and this rose to 84% following 12 weeks of treatment with Fosrenol. For patients, satisfactions rates climbed from 67% to 84%.

The results indicate that recently-launched Fosrenol (lanthanum carbonate) could gain market share against established products such as Genzyme’s Renagel (sevelamer HCl), which had sales of $111 million last year.

Sales of Fosrenol reached $53.5 million in 2005, its first full year on the market since debuting in the USA in 2004, and Shire is currently claiming a market share of around 8%.

“Successfully managing hyperphosphatemia is a challenge for most ESRD patients due to the exceedingly restrictive diet they must follow and the high tablet burden associated with traditional phosphate binder therapies," commented Nirupama Vemuri, of South Florida Nephrology Group.

"By significantly reducing phosphate binder tablet burden, Fosrenol may help improve patient compliance, as well as clinical outcomes for patients with hyperphosphatemia."