EPO - Aranesp

Aranesp is used to treat a lower than normal number of red blood cells (anemia)

Manufacturer: Amgen

Aranesp general information

Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) is a man-made form of a protein that helps your body produce red blood cells. The amount of this protein in your body may be reduced when you have kidney failure or use certain medications. When fewer red blood cells are produced, you can develop a condition called anemia.

Aranesp is used to treat anemia (a lack of red blood cells in the body).

Aranesp may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Aranesp dosage and administration

Use Aranesp exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

Aranesp is injected under the skin or into a vein. You may be shown how to use an IV at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.

Do not shake the Aranesp medication bottle or you may ruin the medicine. Prepare your dose in a syringe only when you are ready to give yourself an injection. Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription.

Use a disposable needle only once. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

To be sure Aranesp is helping your condition, your blood may need to be tested often. Your blood pressure will also need to be checked. Visit your doctor regularly.

Store Aranesp in the refrigerator and do not allow it to freeze. Protect from light.

Throw away any Aranesp that has become frozen or has been exposed to light.

Aranesp side effects

Contact your doctor if you feel light-headed or unusually weak or tired. These may be signs that your body has stopped responding to Aranesp.

Aranesp can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke. This risk will increase the longer you use Aranesp. Seek emergency medical help if you have symptoms of heart or circulation problems, such as:

  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;

  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;

  • swelling, rapid weight gain;

  • sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;

  • sudden headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance;

  • chest pain with sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, fast heart rate;

  • cold feeling or pale appearance in an arm or leg; or

  • pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Aranesp: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using Aranesp and call your doctor at once if you have other serious side effects such as:

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;

  • feeling like you might pass out;

  • seizure (black-out or convulsions); or

  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).

Less serious Aranesp side effects may include:

  • mild skin rash;

  • dizziness, mild headache;

  • muscle spasm, joint pain;

  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat;

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, constipation; or

  • pain, bruising, swelling, warmth, redness, oozing, or bleeding where the IV needle is placed.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.