What is this medicine?
EPOETIN ALFA (e POE e tin AL fa) helps your body make more red blood cells. This medicine is used to treat anemia caused by chronic kidney disease, cancer chemotherapy, or HIV-therapy. It may also be used before surgery if you have anemia.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Epogen, Procrit, Retacrit
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- history of blood clots
- history of stroke
- low levels of folate, iron, or vitamin B12 in the blood
- an unusual or allergic reaction to erythropoietin, albumin, benzyl alcohol, hamster proteins, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medicine?
This medicine is for injection into a vein or under the skin. It is usually given by a health care professional in a hospital or clinic setting.
If you get this medicine at home, you will be taught how to prepare and give this medicine. Use exactly as directed. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.
It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or healthcare provider to get one.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medicine?
Interactions have not been studied.
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medicine.
You may need blood work done while you are taking this medicine.
This medicine may cause a decrease in vitamin B6. You should make sure that you get enough vitamin B6 while you are taking this medicine. Discuss the foods you eat and the vitamins you take with your health care professional.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- signs and symptoms of a blood clot such as breathing problems; changes in vision; chest pain; severe, sudden headache; pain, swelling, warmth in the leg; trouble speaking; sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg
- signs and symptoms of a stroke like changes in vision; confusion; trouble speaking or understanding; severe headaches; sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg; trouble walking; dizziness; loss of balance or coordination
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- joint pain
- muscle cramps
- muscle pain
- nausea, vomiting
- pain, redness, or irritation at site where injected
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store in a refrigerator between 2 and 8 degrees C (36 and 46 degrees F). Do not freeze or shake. Throw away any unused portion if using a single-dose vial. Multi-dose vials can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 21 days after the initial dose. Throw away unused medicine.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.