Epoetin

Pronounced

"eep-oh-EE-tin AL-fuh"

Common brand names:

Eprex

Uses

This medication is used to treat anemia (low red blood cell count) in people with long-term serious kidney disease (chronic renal failure), people receiving zidovudine to treat HIV, and people receiving chemotherapy for certain types of cancer (non-myeloid cancers). It may also be used in anemic patients to reduce the need for blood transfusions before certain planned surgeries that have a high risk of blood loss (usually combined with the "blood thinner" warfarin). Epoetin alfa helps to reverse anemia. It works by signaling the bone marrow to make more red blood cells. This medication is very similar to the natural substance in your body (erythropoietin) that prevents anemia.

How to Use This Medication

Read the Medication Guide and Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using this medication and each time you get a refill. Learn all preparation and usage instructions in the product package. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

This medication is given as an injection under the skin or into a vein, usually 1 to 3 times a week or as directed by your doctor. Hemodialysis patients should receive this medication by injection into a vein.

Do not shake this medication. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. If you are injecting this medication under the skin, change the location of the injection site every time to avoid problem areas under the skin.

Learn how to store and discard needles and medical supplies safely. Consult your pharmacist.

The dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, and response to treatment. Blood tests should be performed frequently to check how well this medication is working and to determine the correct dose for you. Consult your doctor for more details.

Do not increase your dose or use this medication more often than directed. Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it on the same day(s) of the week as directed. It may help to mark your calendar with a reminder.

It may take 2 to 6 weeks before your red blood cell count increases. Tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they worsen.

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Information expires June 2015.