Epoetin Alfa

Epoetin Alfa

Epoetin Alfa is indicated for the treatment of anemia in people with:

  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Solid tumors being treated with chemotherapy
  • Multiple myeloma or malignant lymphoma
  • Major orthopedic surgery (knee or hip replacement)

Anemia is which you lack enough healthy red blood cells. Wherein, it carries adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues. Having this condition can make you feel weak and tired. It can be temporary or long-term and can range from mild to severe. The signs and symptoms vary depending on the cause. Signs and symptoms if they do occur might be:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Pale or yellow skin
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches

Anemia in people with chronic kid kidney failure frequently occurs. It might begin to develop in the early stages and tends to worsen as the disease worsens. Most people have a total loss of kidney function or kidney failure have anemia.

This medication is very similar to the natural substance in your body that prevents anemia called erythropoietin. Epoetin Alfa is in the class of medication called erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ASAs). This signals the bone marrow to make more red blood cells. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription. Epoetin Alfa is formulated as a sterile and colorless liquid in vials in multiple formulations. Single-dose vials are supplied in multiple strengths; 2000 units/mL, 3000 units/mL, 4000 units/mL, 10,000 units/mL, and 20,000 units/mL.  

How does Epoetin Alfa work?

Epoetin Alfa is a synthetic version of the naturally-occurring hormone erythropoietin. Erythropoietin is produced by healthy kidneys. In treating anemia in people with chronic kidney failure, this stimulates the bone marrow to create red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. Therefore, this medication corrects anemia.

In people with solid tumors being treated with chemotherapy, Epoetin Alfa in some situations is given to stimulate the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells. One of the major side effects of chemotherapy is that it lessens the production of blood cells. When the level of red blood cells falls too low, this is the most commonly treated with a blood transfusion.

How to use Epoetin Alfa?

The dosage will depend on your medical condition, age, weight, and response to the treatment. Your doctor may direct you to start at a low dose and gradually increase it. Follow the instructions of your doctor very carefully. You should not take the medication more or less than it is prescribed. Before using this product, check it visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Clean the injection with rubbing alcohol before injecting each dose. Change the injection site each time to lessen injury under the skin. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely. Do not sake this medication. To get the most benefit from it, use the medication regularly. Remember to use the prescription at the same time each day.

Epoetin Alfa is given by injection under the skin or into a vein. It is usually given 1 to 3 times a week or as directed by your doctor. If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember it. If it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take twice the prescribed dosage to make up for the missed dose. It may take 2-6 weeks before your red blood cell count increases. Let your doctor know if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse.

What are the side effects of Epoetin Alfa?

Common side effects:

  • Headache
  • Bone or joint pain
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • Body aches
  • Muscle pain or spasms
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Itching or rash
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems or insomnia
  • Weight loss
  • Cold symptoms (sneezing, stuffy nose, or sore throat)
  • Injection site reactions (tenderness, pain, or irritation)

Serious side effects:

  • Chest pain
  • Blood clots
  • Strokes
  • Seizures
  • Heart attack

Call your doctor right away if these occur:

  • Unusual tiredness
  • High blood sugar (increased urination and thirst, fruity breath odor, and dry mouth)
  • Low potassium (constipation, leg cramps, increased thirst or urination, muscle weakness or limp feeling, and fluttering in your chest)
  • Increased blood pressure (blurred vision, severe headache, nosebleed, and pounding in your neck or ears)

Warnings and Precautions

  • While taking Epoetin Alfa, tell your doctor if you have experience sudden stabbing migraine-like headaches, as this may be a possible warning sign that your blood pressure is too high.
  • You will need to have regular blood tests to monitor the levels of blood cells salts in your blood. The number of platelets in your blood should also be regularly monitored during the first eight weeks of treatment with this medicine.  
  • If you ever had an allergic reaction to this product, tell your doctor. Tell as well if you have any allergies as this product may have an inactive ingredient that causes an allergic reaction.
  • If you are receiving dialysis treatment, your dialysis medication may need adjusting while having Epoetin Alfa. Your doctor will decide this.
  • Do not use this prescription to treat other illnesses without the consent of a doctor.
  • Before using this drug, let your doctor know if you have any medical history especially of seizure disorder, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
  • During pregnancy, this should only be used when needed. If you are breastfeeding women, consult your doctor first.

This product should not be used in:

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • People who have experienced a sudden drop in red blood cell production during previous treatment with this medicine
  • People with cancer who are not being treated with chemotherapy
  • Those who can’t  be treated with medicines to prevent blood clots

This should be used with caution in:

  • People with heart disease
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • Chronic liver failure
  • Epilepsy
  • Hereditary blood disorders called porphyrias
  • People with high numbers of platelets in the blood
  • People at increased risk of developing a  blood clot in a blood vessel