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Epoetin alfa

Details of the Drug
Generic Name:
Epoetin alfa
eh-POH-e-tin AL-fa
Drug Type:
Erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA)
How the Drug is Given:

Subcutaneous (SC) injection or intravenously (IV)

Epoetin alfa
Epoetin alfa-epbx*
Retacrit™ *

Indications and Usage

Epoetin alfa is indicated for

  • Treatment of anemia due to the effects of concomitant myelosuppressive chemotherapy, and upon initiation, there is a minimum of two additional months of planned chemotherapy
  • Reduction of allogeneic red blood cell transfusions in patients undergoing elective, noncardiac, nonvascular surgery.

Epogen is not indicated for use:

  • In patients with cancer receiving hormonal agents, biologic products, or radiotherapy, unless also receiving concomitant myelosuppressive chemotherapy 
  • In patients with cancer receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy when the anticipated outcome is cure 
  • In patients with cancer receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy in whom the anemia can be managed by transfusion
  • In patients scheduled for surgery who are willing to donate autologous blood
  • In patients undergoing cardiac or vascular surgery
  • As a substitute for RBC transfusions in patients who require immediate correction of anemia

Side effects needing medical attention

Nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, joint pain, inflamed and sore mouth, cough, weight decrease, low white cell count, bone pain, rash, excess of glucose in the bloodstream (hyperglycemia), insomnia, headache, depression, difficulty swallowing, low blood potassium levels, and formation of a blood clot. 

Epogen has not been shown to improve quality of life, fatigue, or patient well-being.


    *A biosimilar is a biological product that is highly similar to and has no clinically meaningful differences from an existing FDA-approved reference product. Click here for more information.

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