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.