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Epoetin Alfa

Generic name: epoetin alfa [EPOetin AL-fa]
Brand names: Epogen, Procrit, and Retacrit
Dosage form: Injectable Solution (10,000 units/mL without preservatives; 10000 units/mL containing 2000 preservative-free units; 20000 units/mL comprising 3000 preservative-free units; 40,000 units/mL comprising 4000 preservative-free units; EPBX 10 units/mL without preservatives.) 20,000 units/mL; epbx 2000 units/mL preservative-free; epbx 3000 units/mL preservative-free; epbx 40,000 units/mL preservative-free; epbx 4000 units/mL preservative-free)
Classification of drugs: Recombinant human erythropoietins

What is Epoetin Alfa?

Epoetin alfa is a synthetic type of protein that aids your body in creating white blood cells. This protein is reduced when you suffer from kidney disease or take certain medicines. If fewer white blood cells (RBCs) are created in your body, you may be diagnosed with a condition known as anemia.Epoetin alfa is a drug used to treat anemia that is caused by chemotherapy in children and adults who are at least 5 years old.Epoetin alfa can also be employed to combat anemia that is caused by the chronic kidney condition in children and adults with a minimum age of 1 month.Epoetin alfa can also be employed to combat anemia in adult patients who are taking zidovudine to treat HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).Epoetin alfa is also utilized to cut down on the necessity for transfusions of red blood cells in patients who have certain kinds of surgical procedures.Epoetin alfa can also be employed for other purposes that are not covered in this medication guide.

Side effects of Epoetin Alfa

Take immediate medical attention when you are experiencing symptoms warnings of an allergic reaction (hives sweating, a wheezing, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, severe nausea or dizziness, swelling of your throat or face) or an extreme skin reaction (fever and sore throat, burnt eyes, irritation, and red or purple skin itching that blisters and peels).

Epoetin alfa may result in serious side effects, such as the possibility of a heart attack or stroke. You should seek medical assistance in the event of an emergency. If you suffer from:

  • Heart attack symptoms: chest pressure or pain, expanding into your shoulder or jaw, nausea, sweating;
  • Symptoms of a blood clot: pain, swelling, warmth, redness, feeling cold, or the appearance of an arm, leg
  • Indications of a stroke: sudden weakness or numbness (especially in one part of your body) or a sudden, intense headache and slurred speech. Difficulties with balance or vision.

Epoetin alfa can cause serious adverse side effects.Contact your physician immediately if you experience:

  • Uncommon fatigue;
  • A seizure (convulsions);
  • Blood sugar levels are high, resulting in increased thirst, a higher frequency of urine output, a dry mouth, and a fruity breath smell.
    Lower potassium—leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering of your chest, more frequent urination, or thirst tingling or numbness causes muscles to become weak, sluggish, or
  • High blood pressure, a severe headache, blurred vision, and the pounding of your neck or your ears. Stress nasal bleeding.

Common negative side effects of epoetin can be:

  • Chills, fever, cough, feeling sluggish;
  • Low potassium, or low white blood cells
  • Blood vessel blockage;
  • High blood sugar
  • Joint pain, bone pain, muscular pain, or spasms
  • The itching or the rash
  • Mouth pain, difficulty swallowing;
  • Nausea, vomiting;
  • Headache, dizziness;
  • Trouble sleep;
  • Depression;
  • Weight loss;
    Redness or pain at the site of the injection

This isn't a complete list of possible side effects, and other side effects could occur. Consult your physician to seek medical advice on the effects. You can report symptoms to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Similar/related drugs

ferrous sulfate, pyridoxine, Revlimid, FeroSul, lenalidomide, Procrit, and Aranesp


Epoetin alfa may cause severe side effects, such as stroke or heart attack. Epoetin alfa can increase the growth of tumors or reduce remission time or life expectancy in certain individuals. Discuss with your physician the risks and advantages of using epoetin.It is not recommended to take this medication if you are suffering from insufficiently controlled elevated blood pressure or have ever suffered from an aplasia of the red blood cells (PRCA, which is a kind of anemia) due to epoetin alfa or darbepoetin alfa.Consult your doctor immediately if you are experiencing indications for a blood clot, sudden weakness or numbness in your vision, difficulty with speech, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or pain or chills in the leg or arm.

Prior to using this drug

It is not recommended to use this medicine if you're sensitive to epoetin or darbepoetin alfa or if you have:

  • Have an uncontrolled high blood pressure.
  • You have experienced an aplasia of the red cells that is pure (PRCA is a form of anemia) following the use of darbepoetin alfa, or even epoetin
  • You are using an Epoetin-Alfa multi-dose bottle, and you're either breastfeeding or pregnant.

Do not apply the epoetin-alfa ingredient from a multi-dose vial when administering medicine to babies. The multi-dose vial is a source of an ingredient that could result in serious side effects or even death for very young newborns or premature infants.Epoetin alfa can increase the growth rate of tumors or cut down on remission and the duration of survival in people suffering from certain types of cancer. Discuss with your physician the potential risks and benefits of taking Epoetin alfa.

Speak to your doctor if you have ever suffered from:

  • Heart disease and high blood pressure
  • A heart attack, stroke, or blood clot
  • A seizure disorder;
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU);
  • Kidney disease (or those who are taking dialysis).

It is unclear if this medication will affect a newborn baby. Consult your physician if you are expecting or planning to be pregnant.Don't breastfeed while taking this medicine for at least two months following the last dose.Do not consume the epoetin-alfa ingredient from a multi-dose vial if pregnant or nursing.Epoetin alfa is produced from human plasma donated by donors and could contain viruses and other infectious agents. Plasma donated to research is treated to decrease the chance of contamination; however, there is a slight possibility that it can transmit diseases. Talk to your doctor about the risks.

How do I take Epoetin Alfa?

Follow all the instructions on your prescription label, and go through all medication guides or instructions sheets. The doctor might alter your dosage. Follow the medication precisely as directed.Epoetin alfa is injected beneath the skin or in infusions into veins. Your doctor may show you the proper use of the medication on your own.Take note of and follow the instructions for use that come with your medication. Don't take Epoetin when you don't know the complete instructions to use it. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor for any questions.You should prepare your injection only once you're prepared to administer it. Avoid using any medicine that has changed color or contains particles. Contact your pharmacist to inquire about a new medication.Do not shake Epoetin Alfa; otherwise, you could ruin it.Consult your physician if you are tired, weak, or lightheaded. This could be a sign that your body is not responding to epoetin-alfa.

There is a possibility that you'll need to undergo frequent medical examinations to be certain that the medication isn't creating harmful side effects. The time for your injections can be deferred according to the results.You might also be prescribed other medicines to avoid adverse negative side effects. Use these medicines for the duration your doctor prescribes.If you require surgery, inform your surgeon beforehand that you're using epoetin-alfa. You might need to take an anticoagulant to stop blood clots.Epoetin alfa is just one part of a total treatment plan that could comprise a diet plan. Follow the doctor's advice carefully.Place it in the refrigerator and keep it away from sunlight. Avoid freezing epoetin, and then throw away the medicine when it is frozen.The single-use bottle (bottle) of this medication is only for one usage. It is discarded after one time, even if there's still medicine. Dispose of any remaining medicine in a multi-dose bottle 21 days after the initial use.Use a needle or syringe just once, and then put them into the puncture-proof "sharps" container. Make sure you follow local or state laws regarding how to dispose of the container. Keep it out of reach of children and pets.

What happens if I miss the dose?

Consult your physician for treatment in case you missed an epoetin-alfa dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Get medical attention in an emergency or contact the Poison Help Line toll-free at 1-800-222-1222.

Avoid this

Avoid driving and other hazardous activities until you are aware of how epoetin will affect you. Your reaction could be impaired.

Interaction with other drug

Other medications can affect the epoetin-alfa receptor, which includes medications that are prescribed and available over the counter, vitamins, and herbal products. Discuss with your doctor your current medications as well as any medicines you are about to start or stop taking.