IMPORTANT NOTE: The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Epogen, Procrit
USES: This medication stimulates the body to make red blood cells. It is used in the treatment of various anemia conditions.
HOW TO USE: This medication is given as an injection usually one to three times a week. It is important that blood tests be done frequently to check effectiveness of the medication and determine the correct dose.
SIDE EFFECTS: This medication is generally well tolerated. Headache, nausea, muscle aches, diarrhea and cough may occur. Inform your doctor if these symptoms persist or worsen. Notify your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following while taking this medication: rapid heartbeat, irritation at the injection site. Rarely, this medication can lose its effectiveness after a period of time, and a very serious anemia can result. Tell your doctor immediately if symptoms of anemia reoccur, such as increased fatigue/weakness, or pale skin color. An allergic reaction to this drug is very unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
PRECAUTIONS: Tell your doctor your medical history, especially: blood disorders, heart problems, high blood pressure, seizure disorders, kidney problems, blood vessel problems, any allergies. A preservative (benzyl alcohol) which may be found in this product or in the liquid used to mix this product (diluent) can infrequently cause serious problems (sometimes death) if given by injection to an infant during the first months of life (neonatal period). The risk is greater with lower birth weight infants and is greater with increased amounts of benzyl alcohol. Symptoms include sudden gasping, low blood pressure, or a very slow heartbeat. Report these symptoms to the doctor immediately should they occur. If possible, a preservative-free product should be used when treating neonates. Epoetin alfa should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. It is not known if epoetin alfa is excreted into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Tell your doctor of all medication you may use (both prescription and nonprescription), especially: high blood pressure medicine, heparin, desmopressin, probenecid, iron supplements (vitamins). Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.
NOTES: It is important to follow recommended dietary guidelines while taking this medication. Eating foods rich in iron may be recommended. Such foods include raisins, figs, meat, eggs, vegetables, iron-fortified cereals.
MISSED DOSE: Take any missed dose as soon as possible but not if it is almost time for the next dose. If it is time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular schedule. Do not "double-up" the dose.
STORAGE: Refrigerate between 36 and 46 degrees F (between 2.2 and 7.8 degrees C). Do not freeze.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For enrollment information call MedicAlert at 1-800-854-1166 (USA), or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
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Copyright 2004 by First DataBank, Inc.