GENERIC NAME: EPOETIN ALFA - INJECTION (e-POE-tin AL-fa)
BRAND NAME(S): Epogen, Procrit
WARNING: Discuss the risks and benefits of use for epoetin alfa with your doctor, as this medication may rarely cause very serious (possibly fatal) side effects, including blood clots. It will be very important to keep all laboratory test appointments, as your doctor will need to carefully check your red blood cell tests (hemoglobin). The lowest effective dose of this medication should be used.
When used to treat anemia related to cancer, this medication may also increase the risk of death and/or cause your tumor to grow faster. Therefore, your doctor should have special training in order to prescribe this medication and be able to discuss with you the risks and benefits of this medication. This medication should be stopped after completing a treatment course of chemotherapy as directed by your doctor.
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.
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