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Lokelma - new product for treating hyperkalaemia

Lokelma▼, for Hyperkalaemia from AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca have launched their treatment for hyperkalaemia (high levels of potassium in the blood). The medicine contains the ingredient sodium zirconium cyclosilicate (brand name Lokelma).

Lokelma captures potassium in the blood in exchange for hydrogen and sodium atoms. The exchange with potassium ions occurs throughout the gastrointestinal tract with onset in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract. The trapped potassium ions are excreted from the body via the faeces, thereby reducing any excess and resolving hyperkalaemia.

Lokelma is licensed for the treatment of hyperkalaemia in adult patients.

About Hyperkalaemia
Hyperkalaemia is the presence of an abnormally high concentration of potassium in the blood. Most data on
the occurrence of hyperkalaemia have been obtained from studies of hospitalised patients, and the number of patients with hyperkalaemia ranges from 1 to 10%. There is no agreed definition of hyperkalaemia, since the raised level of potassium at which a treatment should be initiated has not been established.

Hyperkalaemia develops when there is insufficient removal, excessive intake, or shift of potassium from the space between cells. Insufficient removal, which is the most common cause of hyperkalaemia, can be:
  • hormonal (as in aldosterone deficiency)
  • pharmacologic (e.g. treatment with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors [ACEs]
  • angiotensin-receptor blockers [ARBs]
  • mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists)
  • most commonly, due to reduced kidney function.

About Lokelma
Lokelma is a medicine used to treat hyperkalaemia (high levels of potassium in the blood) in adults. It contains the active substance sodium zirconium cyclosilicate.

The active substance in Lokelma, sodium zirconium cyclosilicate, is a potassium binder. When taken by mouth, Lokelma attaches to potassium from food and body fluids in the gut, forming a compound that is then eliminated in the stools. This action removes potassium from the body overall, thus helping to lower the potassium levels in the blood.

Lokelma was first made available in the EU in 2018. It is manufactured by AstraZeneca.

European Medicines Agency website page for Lokelma
Merck Manual website for hyperkalaemia
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
Accessed 06/04/19
Links available in full article

EMA information about Lokelma

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Reporting of suspected adverse reactions

Reporting suspected adverse reactions (side effects) after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals or patients are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme at or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store.

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