Hyperkalemia treatment modalities: A descriptive observational study focused on medication and healthcare resource utilization

Nihar R. Desai, Christopher G. Rowan, Paula J. Alvarez, Jeanene Fogli, Robertd Toto

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11 Scopus citations


Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitor (RAASi) therapy has been shown to improve outcomes among patients with congestive heart failure, diabetes, or renal dysfunction. These patients are also at risk for the development of hyperkalemia (HK), often leading to down-titration and/or discontinuation of RAASi therapy. Patiromer is the first sodium-free, non-absorbed potassium (K+) binder approved for the treatment of hyperkalemia (HK) in over 50 years. We described the association between use of K+ binders (Patiromer and sodium polystyrene sulfonate [SPS]) and renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitor (RAASi), on healthcare resource utilization (HRU). The study population consisted of Medicare Advantage patients with HK (K+ 5.0 mmol/L) in Optum's Clinformatics Data Mart between 1/1/201612/31/2017. Patiromer and (SPS) initiators, and HK patients not exposed to a K+ binder (NoKb) were included. The index date was the date of the first K+ binder dispensing or HK diagnosis. Outcomes assessed at 6 months post-index were: (1) K+ binder utilization, (2) RAASi continuation, and (3) HRU (pre- vs post-index). HRU change was analyzed using McNemar's statistical test. Study cohorts included 610 (patiromer), 5556 (SPS), and 21,282 (NoKb) patients. Overall baseline patient characteristics were: mean age 75 years; female 49%, low-income subsidy 29%, chronic kidney disease 48% (63% for patiromer cohort), and congestive heart failure 29%. At 6 months post-index, 28% (patiromer) and 2% (SPS) remained continuously exposed to the index K+ binder. RAASi continued for 78% (patiromer), 57% (SPS), and 57% (NoKb). The difference (pre- vs postindex) in hospitalized patients was: 9.4% (patiromer; P<0.05), 7.2% (SPS), and +16.8% (NoKb; P<0.001). Disparate K+ binder utilization patterns were observed. The majority of patiromer patients continued RAASi therapy while the percentage of SPS patients that continued RAASi therapy was lower, overlapping CIs were observed. Following continuous patiromer exposure, statistically significant reductions in hospital admissions and emergency department visits were observed, continuous SPS exposure observed no statistically significant reductions in either hospitalizations or ED visits, while NoKb patients with continuous exposure had statistically significant increases in both. Further research, with a larger sample size using comparative analytic methods, is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0226844
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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