Phosphate binders - Information for kidney patients

Information for patients who've been advised to take phosphate binders.

Why do I need to take phosphate binders?

Phosphate binders are tablets to help keep the phosphate level in your blood within the normal range. You may not have any symptoms of a high phosphate but taking your phosphate binders may prevent problems with your bones, blood vessels and heart. The normal range for blood phosphate is between 0.8mmol/l and 1.5mmol/l.

How do phosphate binders work?

They work by binding to the phosphate in your food, allowing it to pass out in your stool. You may also be advised to reduce your intake of phosphate containing foods. Your renal dietitian can provide you with information if this is needed.

How do I take my phosphate binders?

To work properly phosphate binders will either need to be chewed or swallowed whole either before, during or immediately after any meals, snacks or drinks containing phosphate. Your renal dietitian can guide you based on the phosphate binders you have been prescribed by the doctor. See the information below. Take your prescribed dose daily and spread your tablets throughout the day when you eat. Your renal dietitian can guide you on how to take these tablets with your usual meal pattern and food choices. See the information on page 4. You do not need to take your phosphate binders if you miss a meal. If you forget to take your binders with a meal try to remember to take the next dose at your following meal.

Practical tips

  • Keep a container of binders in each of the places you eat.
  • Keep a container of binders in your bag/pocket/in the car ready for when you eat out. 
  • Set an alert on your mobile phone to remind you to take your binders when you eat.

Phosphate binders and other medication

Phosphate binders and some tablets should not be taken at the same time. Some tablets will need to be taken 1 to 3 hours before or after taking your phosphate binders. Check the patient information leaflet provided with your phosphate binders for information. You can also ask your pharmacist or doctor or dietitian. 

You or your health care professional can complete the following pages to remind you when and how to take your phosphate binders. Follow the advice of your pharmacist, doctor or dietitian.

Things you should write down:

  • The name and daily dose of your phosphate binder.
  • When to take your phosphate binders: meals/snacks, the binder, and the recommended dose. 
  • The timing of your phosphate binders with meals/snacks: before, during, or after.
  • How to take your phosphate binders: chew well or swallow whole. 

© North Bristol NHS Trust. This edition published March 2023. Review due March 2026. NBT003419.

Contact Nutrition & Dietetics

Kendon House
Kendon Way
Southmead Hospital

Telephone: 0117 414 5428 


Phosphate binders - Information for kidney patients