Epoetin alfa (recombinant human erythropoietin)

For the treatment of anemia due to chemotherapy.

Increases hemoglobin 1 g/dL and 2 g/dL after 4 and 8 weeks of treatment, respectively.

In patients on chemotherapy use produces significant increases in hemoglobin levels, significant decreases in transfusions and significant improvement in quality of life.

30-50% of patients on chemotherapy do not have meaningful hematologic improvements on treatment which is suspected to be due to functional iron deficiency because the erythropoiesis rate induced by the erythropoietin exceeds the delivery of usable iron.

Patients with chemotherapy induced anemia treated with epoetin and intravenous iron dextran have a better hematologic response than those treated with epoetin and oral iron suggesting patients with functional iron deficiency respond better with parenteral iron treatment.

In critically ill patients use does not reduce red blood cell transfusion rates but may reduce mortality in patients with trauma.

Treatment associated with increased risk of thrombosis in critically ill patients.

Use in the ICU setting not supported for medical or surgical patients.

Most clinical studies have evaluated treatment 3 times weekly or once weekly.

Early initiation of therapy and administration every three weeks can increase and maintain hemoglobin level in patients with chemotherapy induced anemia (Glaspy).

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