Generic Name(s): epoetin alfa
Drug Class: Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents
Treats: Anemia, Kidney Disease
Epogen is a synthetic form of a protein that helps in the production of red blood cells. Epogen is used to help treat anemia (low red blood cell count). Anemia may be caused by kidney failure, kidney disease, or human immunodeficiency virus. Epogen is part of the erythropoiesis stimulating agents.
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Although Epogen cannot cure the cause for anemia, it is an effective treatment to manage low blood cell levels. The drug is used when the body is unable to produce enough human erythropoietin. When erythropoietin (EPO) is not produced in the body or low levels are produced, an individual may suffer from anemia. Epogen is used to treat individuals suffering from kidney disease, kidney failure, certain cancers, or the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In addition to treating anemia, Epogen can also benefit individuals with the following conditions that may affect their red blood cell count.
- Kidney Disease
- Chemotherapy side effects
Epogen dosage is dependent on the medical condition that is being used to treat. Epogen is by prescription only and taken as an injection under the skin or into a vein.
- For adults with anemia, Epogen is typically taken 1 to 3 times a week to maintain red blood cell levels.
- Dosage amount and frequency may vary depending on individual patient needs and as directed by your doctor.
- Blood tests should be regularly performed while using epogen to measure results and adjust dosage if necessary.
- It may take up to 2 to 6 weeks after using Epogen before an increase in red blood cell count can be seen.
- For children, consult with your doctor before usage and dosage.
Epogen Side Effects
Epogen, like other drugs, may cause side effects with use. See below for a list of side effects that may be experienced when using Epogen. Please consult your doctor if you encounter any severe or prolonged side effects. Note that this list may not cover all possible reactions:
Common Epogen side effects
Consult with your doctor if you experience any of the following side effects.
- Allergic reactions, including hives/rash, itching or swelling of the face, mouth or tongue, dizziness, or trouble breathing
- Returning symptoms of anemia, including increased fatigue, low energy, paleness, shortness of breath
In rare cases, Epogen can cause blood clots. If you experience any of the symptoms below, these may be indicative of a blood clot and you should seek medical help immediately.
- Pain, redness, swelling or weakness in the limbs
- Leg pain or swelling that is warm to the touch
- Difficulty breathing or speaking
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood
- Blurred vision, dizziness
- Weakness in one half of the body
If combined with other medications, individuals may experience moderate or serious side effects when using Epogen. Consult with your doctor before taking Epogen with other medications (prescribed or over the counter). The dosage may differ depending on other medications that an individual is taking. Epogen may have interactions with alcohol, food, or tobacco products. Consult with your doctor for a complete list of possible interactions. Below is a list of drugs that have been known to interact with Epogen. Note, this list does not include all possible drug interactions.