What is this medicine?
DARBEPOETIN ALFA (dar be POE e tin AL fa) helps your body make more red blood cells. It is used to treat anemia caused by chronic kidney failure and chemotherapy.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Aranesp
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- blood clotting disorders or history of blood clots
- cancer patient not on chemotherapy
- cystic fibrosis
- heart disease, such as angina, heart failure, or a history of a heart attack
- hemoglobin level of 12 g/dL or greater
- high blood pressure
- low levels of folate, iron, or vitamin B12
- an unusual or allergic reaction to darbepoetin, erythropoietin, albumin, hamster proteins, latex, 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 medicine may be used in children as young as 1 month of age 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?
Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
- epoetin alfa
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
- breathing problems
- changes in vision
- chest pain
- confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
- high blood pressure
- muscle aches or pains
- pain, swelling, warmth in the leg
- rapid weight gain
- severe headaches
- sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg
- trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- seizures (convulsions)
- swelling of the ankles, feet, hands
- unusually weak or tired
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- fever, chills (flu-like symptoms)
- nausea, vomiting
- redness, stinging, or swelling 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. Do not shake. Throw away any unused portion if using a single-dose vial. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
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.