The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Veltassa (patiromer for oral suspension) to treat hyperkalemia, a serious condition in which the amount of potassium in the blood is too high.
"Too much potassium in the blood can lead to dangerous, even fatal, changes in heart rhythm," said Norman Stockbridge, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Cardiovascular and Renal Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "It is important to have treatment options for hyperkalemia available to patients."
Potassium, a mineral that is delivered to the body by food, is needed for cells to function properly. The kidneys remove potassium from the blood to maintain a proper balance of potassium in the body. But when the kidneys are not able to remove enough potassium from the blood, the level of potassium can get too high. Hyperkalemia typically occurs in patients with acute or chronic kidney disease or heart failure, particularly in those who are taking drugs that inhibit the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, which regulates blood pressure and fluid balance in the body.