Epogen-Epoetin Alfa

What is Epoetin Alfa?

Epoetin Alfa (Procrit, Epogen) is a red-blood cell stimulating agent (ESA). It is used for the treatment of anemia due to concurrent myelosuppressive chemotherapy and anemia due to chronic kidney disease and other chronic illnesses. A non-FDA approved, off-label indication is for the symptomatic treatment of anemia in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

How is it administered?

Epoetin Alfa is most commonly given as a subcutaneous injection. Laboratory tests are preformed prior to initiation of therapy to insure iron stores are adequate and that hemoglobin levels are within a treatable range. 

What to expect:

Epoetin Alfa can cause elevation in blood pressure, headaches, nausea, vomiting, local injection site reactions, muscle and bone pain and cough. More serious, although less common reactions, include: deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, heart attack and stroke. Tumor progression can occur with treatment of Epoetin Alfa. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with a provider prior to initiation of therapy.