European regulators have approved Vifor Pharma’s new potassium binder Veltassa to treat hyperkalaemia in adult patients.

Hyperkalaemia is an elevated level of potassium in the blood serum which, if left untreated, can lead to palpitations, muscle pain, muscle weakness, numbness and abnormal heart rhythms.

Veltassa has been cleared to treat adult patients with the condition - including those already on renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitor therapy - within the European Union, Norway, Ibeland and Liechtenstein.

“With Veltassa, patients have an option that is easy to take, keeps potassium levels stable and makes their hyperkalaemia so much easier to manage,” said Vifor’s Stefan Schulze, president of the executive committee and chief operating officer.

“In particular, Veltassa makes it possible for patients to continue with their optimal RAASi dose in order to get the maximum benefit from their life-saving RAASi treatment," he added.

First launches within Europe are expected to take place from the end of 2017 or early 2018.

The drug was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in October 2015.