Recombinant Human Erythropoietin - How it Works? - Side Effects of Use

Recombinant Human Erythropoietin - Type of Drug - Some Interactions occuring with Recombinant Human Erythropoietin

Type of Drug:

Blood modifier; antianemia.

How the Drug Works:

Epoetin alfa and darbepoetin alfa are synthetic copies of the natural hormone produced by the kidney, which stimulate production of oxygen ­carrying red blood cells by the bone marrow.


Darbepoetin: To treat anemia associated with chronic kidney failure, including patients on and not on dialysis.

To treat anemia in patients with non myeloid malignancies where anemia is caused by co-administered chemotherapy.

Epoetin: To treat anemia and decrease the need for blood transfusions in patients with anemia associated with chronic kidney failure, including patients on and not on dialysis.

To treat anemia and decrease the need for blood transfusions in patients with anemia due to zidovudine (AZT) therapy for HIV infection.

To treat anemia and decrease the need for blood transfusions in patients with non myeloid (non-bone marrow) cancer who develop anemia because of chemotherapy. It is intended for patients who will be receiving chemotherapy for at least 2 months.

To increase a patient’s red blood cell production before certain elective surgeries to reduce the need for blood transfusions.

Unlabeled Uses: Doctors nay occasionally prescribe epoetin for priorities associated with kidney failure.


Do not use in the following situations: allergy to human albumin (epoetin, darbepoetin with albumin only) allergy to mammalian (animal) cell-derived products (epootin only) allergy to the drug or any of its ingredients high blood pressure, uncontrolled

Pregnancy: There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Use only if clearly needed and the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the possible hazards to the fetus.

Breastfeeding: It is not known if these drugs appear in breast milk. Consult your doctor before you begin breastfeeding.

Children: Safety and effectiveness of reporting in children less than one month of age on dialysis have not been established. Safety and effectiveness of epoetin in children for other uses have not been established. Safety and effectiveness of darbepoetin in children have not been established.

Lab tests and exams will be required to monitor therapy. Tests may include blood pressure, blood cell and platelet counts, bleeding time, kidney function tests, fluid and electrolyte tests, serum chemistry, and iron evaluation tests.

Drug Interactions:

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or planning to take any over- the-counter or prescription medications or dietary supplements while taking a recombinant human erythrocyte. Drug doses may need to be modified or a different drug prescribed.

Side Effects:

Every drug is capable of producing side effects. Many patients experience no, or minor, side effects. The frequency and severity of side effects depend upon many factors including dose, duration of therapy, and individual susceptibility. Possible side effects include:

Digestive Tract: Nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; stomach pain; constipation.

Nervous System: Headache; fatigue; weakness; dizziness; seizures; abnormal skin sensations; sleeplessness.

Circulatory System: Changes in blood pressure; chest pain; irregular heart beat; congestive heart failure; blood clots (eg, pain and swelling of the lower legs).

Respiratory System: Congestion; shortness of breath; cough; upper respiratory infection.

Other: Joint, muscle, limb, back, or body pain; fluid retention; bleeding, pain, or tenderness at injection site; rash; itching; fever; infection; weliina of the arms or legs (edema); flu-like symptoms.

Guidelines for Use:

  • Follow the storage, preparation, injection, and disposal procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • Dosage is individualized. Take exactly as prescribed.
  • Epoetin - Use this medicine three times weekly.
  • Darbepoetin - Use this medicine once weekly.
  • The dose may be changed by your doctor, depending on how you respond to the injections. Do not change the dose or stop taking, unless instructed by your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor about what to do if you miss a dose.
  • Do not use a vial if there are any particles or discoloration.
  • Do not mix with other inject able medications.
  • Continue to follow the diet or dialysis prescribed by your doctor, even when you start to feel better.
  • High blood pressure - It is important to follow the blood pressure monitoring and therapy recommendations and diet restrictions established by your doctor while taking this medicine.
  • Discontinue use and contact your doctor immediately at the first appearance of rash or other signs of allergic reactions (eg, hives).
  • Do not reuse needles or syringes. Dispose of used needles and syringes in the puncture-resistant container provided with your medication as directed by your doctor.
  • Take supplemental iron and vitamins as directed by your doctor.
  • Contraceptive measures (eg, birth control) are recommended to prevent pregnancy during treatment.
  • May cause dizziness or seizures. Use caution when driving or performing other tasks requiring alertness, coordination, or physical dexterity until tolerance is determined.

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