Introduction: Case reports have suggested a causative role between sevelamer use and subsequent gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB), but no large observational studies have evaluated this association. Methods: Using the United States Renal Data System database from 2015 to 2019, we examined the association between initiation of sevelamer (vs. non-sevelamer containing phosphate binders) and GIB hospitalization as well as all-cause mortality among individuals on hemodialysis. We emulated a target trial using Cox regression models and inverse probability of treatment weights to estimate the adjusted hazard ratios (HR) across outcomes and subgroups. Results: Among 21,354 new users of phosphate binders (11,276 sevelamer and 10,078 non-sevelamer) with baseline lab data (calcium, phosphorus, hemoglobin, and albumin), there were 2,811 GIB hospitalizations and 5,920 deaths after a median follow-up of 1.3 years. Compared with the initiation of non-sevelamer binders, sevelamer was not associated with an increased risk of GIB hospitalization (89 vs. 90 events per 1,000 person-years; IPTW-HR: 0.98, 95% CI: 0.91–1.06) or all-cause mortality (220 vs. 224 events per 1,000 person-years; IPTW-HR: 0.98, 95% CI: 0.93–1.03). Subgroup analyses (such as diabetes and anti-coagulation use) were generally consistent, and there was no association between sevelamer dose and GIB hospitalization. Conclusion: Among patients requiring hemodialysis, sevelamer (vs. non-sevelamer) containing phosphate binders was not associated with increased risk of GIB hospitalization.

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