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Nefrologia. 2013;33(3):389-99. doi: 10.3265/Nefrologia.pre2013.Feb.11840. Epub 2013 May 2.

Magnesium - its role in CKD.

[Article in English, Spanish]

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  • 1Servicio de Nefrología, Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla, Santander, Spain.


Magnesium containing compounds present promising oral phosphate binders for the treatment of hyperphosphataemia in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, the impact of magnesium in CKD patients still remains unclear in clinical routine practice. Therefore, this publication provides a practicable overview of knowledge about the physiological role of magnesium in general and in particular in CKD patients. Prevalence of hypomagnesaemia is high in the general population and especially in intensive care unit patients, but often not being detected. Magnesium deficiency increases the risk for several diseases, like diabetes mellitus type 2, hypertension and atherosclerosis. Moderate hypermagnesaemia, however, seems to have beneficial effects on vascular calcification and mortality rates in CKD patients. On the other hand, higher serum magnesium levels are reported to be linked to lower PTH levels and results on the effects on bone are controversial. In addition, low magnesium levels are associated with low bone mass, osteoporosis and vascular calcification. In dialysis patients serum magnesium levels are dependent mainly on the dialysate magnesium concentration. To confirm the potential delay of arterial calcification and improved survival outcomes by long-term intervention with magnesium powered randomized studies are required in dialysis patients. Since a recent trial revealed that a phosphate binder containing a combination of magnesium carbonate and calcium acetate was as effective as the polymer-based agent sevelamer hydrochloride and had an equally good tolerability profile, it is time for a re-examination of the role of magnesium in CKD patients.

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