Low blood phosphate; Phosphate - low

Hypophosphatemia is a low level of phosphorus in the blood.

I Would Like to Learn About:

  • Causes

    The following may cause hypophosphatemia, including:

    • Alcoholism
    • Antacids
    • Certain medicines including acetazolamide, foscarnet, imatinib, pentamidine, and sorafenib
    • Fanconi syndrome
    • Starvation
    • Too little vitamin D
    • Overactive parathyroid gland (hyperparathyroidism)
  • Symptoms

    • Bone pain
    • Confusion
    • Muscle weakness
  • Exams and Tests

    The doctor or nurse will examine you.

    The following tests may be done:

    • Kidney function tests
    • Vitamin K blood test

    Exam and testing may show:

    • Anemia due to too many red blood cells being destroyed (hemolytic anemia)
    • Heart muscle damage (cardiomyopathy)
  • Treatment

    Treatment depends on the cause. Phosphate can be given by mouth or through a vein (IV).

  • Outlook (Prognosis)

    How well you do depends on what is causing the condition.

  • When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if you have muscle weakness or confusion.

Related Information



Yu ASL. Disorders of magnesium and phosphorous. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 121.


Review Date: 11/6/2012  

Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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