epoetin alfa, Epogen, Procrit

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Take the Blood Disorders Quiz

Blood clots in veins, referred to as a deep venous thrombosis, also may occur.

Among patients with cancer receiving chemotherapy, the most common side effects of epoetin alfa are:

  • fever,
  • diarrhea,
  • tissue swelling,
  • shortness of breath,
  • paresthesia (abnormal sensations like burning or prickling that may occur anywhere in the body), and
  • upper respiratory infection.

Treatment with epoetin alfa may increase the growth of several types of cancer and reduce survival, and, therefore, its use should be restricted to the conditions discussed previously.

GENERIC AVAILABLE: No

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Vials containing liquid for injection: 2000, 3000, 4000, 10000, 20000 and 40000 U/ml as well as 20000 U/2ml

STORAGE: Epoetin alfa should be stored at 2 C - 8 C (36 F - 46 F). It should not be frozen. Multiple-use vials should be used within 21 days of the first use.

DOSING: Epoetin alfa is administered intravenously or subcutaneously (under the skin) at 50-100 units/kg of body weight, three times weekly. The dose is tailored to each patient based on targeted hemoglobin levels. Adult patients with cancer receiving chemotherapy may be treated with 40,000 units weekly or 150 units/kg 3 times weekly.

Zidovudine treated patients should receive 100 units/kg 3 times weekly.

Surgery patients should receive 300 units/kg per day daily for 14 days or 600 units/kg weekly. The smallest effective dose should be used.

In clinical trials, the risk of death or serious heart problems, and stroke occurred more often when epoetin alpha was administered to target a hemoglobin level greater than 11 g/dL. Epoetin alfa vials should not be shaken since the drug may be damaged, and bubbles may form that prevent some of the drug from being drawn up into the syringe during injection. Iron stores should be evaluated before therapy and supplemental iron should be administered if needed.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: No clinical studies have been done to demonstrate epoetin alfa drug interactions.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/3/2015
Blood and Bleeding Disorders Quiz
FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

See more info: epoetin alfa on RxList
RxList Logo

Need help identifying pills and medications?

Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors