Elevated serum potassium, commonly known as hyperkalemia, is a condition common in patients with decreased renal function and heart failure and is often exacerbated by those receiving RAAS inhibitors or NSAIDs. Although largely asymptomatic, if left untreated hyperkalemia can result in cardiac dysfunction and even death. Drug development has been minimal over the past 50 years; however, new potassium-binding products from Relypsa/Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma and ZS Pharma/AstraZeneca are anticipated in the major markets under study. These therapies compete directly with an existing binder by offering improvements in safety and efficacy and are expected to significantly increase the value of the hyperkalemia market over the next decade. With these changing market dynamics, companies investing in the space need to understand the competing factors that will influence the commercial success, or failure, of new product launches.
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