Sevelamer tablets and sachets (Renagel, Renvela)

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Take sevelamer three times a day with meals.

Remember to follow any dietary advice you have been given about what to eat.

Type of medicineA phosphate-binding agent
Used forTo control levels of phosphate in the blood
Also calledRenagel® (contains sevelamer hydrochloride); Renvela® (contains sevelamer carbonate)
Available asTablets, and sachets containing powder

People with severe kidney disease can have high levels of phosphate in the blood because their kidneys are not working properly. This excess phosphate can then be deposited in the body and can lead to complications. Sevelamer works by combining with the phosphates that are eaten in food. This reduces the overall amount of phosphate in the blood and helps to reduce the problems that it can cause.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking sevelamer it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have any problems with the way your digestive system works. For example, let your doctor know if you have any difficulties swallowing or if you think you could have a blockage in your bowel.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about sevelamer, and will also provide you with a full list of side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
  • It is usual to take three doses daily. Your doctor will tell you how many tablets or sachets you need to take for each dose. This amount will depend upon how much phosphate is in your blood and will be adjusted to suit you.
  • Take sevelamer with (or just after) each of your main meals.
  • If you have been given tablets, do not chew or break them - swallow the tablet whole with a drink of water.
  • If you have been given sachets, pour the powder from the sachet into a small (60 ml) glass of water and stir it in before you swallow. If you have been told to take more than one sachet for each dose, then do this for each sachet you take. Freshly prepare each dose - you should swallow the suspension within 30 minutes of making it.
  • If you forget to take a dose at your usual time, miss the dose out completely. Take your next dose with a meal at the usual time, and then continue as before. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. You wil need some blood tests every couple of weeks or so to check the amount of phosphate in your body.
  • Treatment with sevelamer is usually long-term, so continue to take it unless you are advised otherwise by your doctor.
  • Remember to follow any dietary advice that you have been given by your doctor or dietician. This will also help control the amount of phosphate in your body.
  • There are two different brands of sevelamer available and it may not be appropriate for you to switch between them. Each time you collect a new supply from your pharmacy, check to see if it is the same brand as you have had before. If it is different, please discuss this with your pharmacist who will advise you.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with sevelamer. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with the medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common sevelamer side-effectsWhat can I do if I experience this?
Feeling or being sick, tummy (abdominal) pain, indigestionStick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy meals. Make sure you take your doses after meals
Diarrhoea, constipation, flatulence (wind)If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the medicine, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of the medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr John Cox
Document ID:
3751 (v24)
Last Checked:
10/12/2015
Next Review:
09/12/2018
The Information Standard - certified member

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