Erythropoietin (EPO, The EPO Test)

  • Medical Author:
    Siamak N. Nabili, MD, MPH

    Dr. Nabili received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. He then completed his graduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His graduate training included a specialized fellowship in public health where his research focused on environmental health and health-care delivery and management.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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What are the clinical uses of erythropoietin (EPO)?

Erythropoietin is used in many clinical settings. The most common use is in people with anemia (low blood count) related to kidney dysfunction. When the kidneys are not properly functioning, they produce less than normal amounts of erythropoietin, which can lead to low red blood cell production, or anemia. Therefore, by replacing the erythropoietin with an injection of synthetic erythropoietin, anemia related to kidney disease may be treated. Currently, Epogen or Procrit is a standard part of therapy in patients with kidney disease who require dialysis to both treat and prevent anemia.

Other uses of erythropoietin may include treatment of anemia related to the medication AZT (used to treat AIDS), anemia caused by chemotherapy, anemia caused by dysfunctional bone marrow (where the blood cells are made), and anemia associated with cancer.

Medically reviewed by Jeffrey A. Gordon, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialties in Oncology and Hematology

REFERENCE:

"Chapter 6J: Erythropoietin"
uptodate.com

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/19/2015

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