Epoetin beta is used to treat anaemia in adults and in children with kidney disease. It is also used to treat anaemia in adults who are receiving treatment for cancer (except for bone marrow cancer). This medicine is also used to prevent anaemia in premature infants.
Anaemia is characterised as a low level of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.
Epoetin beta may also be used for autologous blood transfusion, wherein Epoetin beta increases the amount of your own blood which is then taken before an operation and given back during or after the same operation.
Use this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not administer more or less than instructed by your doctor.
This medicine is to be injected subcutaneously (into the fatty layer under the skin, usually in the abdomen, arm, or thigh).
Epoetin beta is available as a single-use prefilled syringe. Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you. If you or a caregiver had been given the proper training on the injection techniques of Epoetin beta, you or your caregiver may do the administration.
How to use this medicine:
- Wash your hands before using this medicine.
- Remove the syringe from the pack. Check the solution inside the syringe. The solution should be clear, colourless and free from visible particles.
- Remove one needle from the pack, fixed it on the syringe, and remove the protective cap from the needle.
- Hold the syringe vertically and gently press the plunger upwards to expel the air from the syringe and needle. Keep pressing the plunger until the amount of the medicine in the syringe is the dose prescribed.
- Wipe the injection site with alcohol swabs and let it dry.
- Gently pinch the skin at the injection site with one hand and pick up the syringe with other hand. Hold the syringe barrel near to the needle, and insert the needle into the skin fold with a quick, firm action.
- Gently press the plunger all the way down until the syringe is empty.
- Slowly let go of the skin and gently pull the needle out of the skin.
- Place a cotton ball or gauze over the injection site and press for about 5 seconds.
- Dispose your used needles and syringes according to your doctor or pharmacist’s instructions. Do not throw away in household trash.
Remember to rotate the injection sites. Do not inject into the same area all the time. New injection sites should be at least 1.5 inches away from the previous injection site. Do not inject near the navel (belly button), into moles, scars or areas where the skin is tender, bruised, red, hard or not intact.
The dose of Epoetin beta will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment time frame depending on the severity of your condition, effectiveness of therapy and your tolerability to this medicine.
Administer the missed dose as soon as you remember.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to administer your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- poorly controlled high blood pressure
- heart attack or stroke a month before treatment, chest pain, risk of formation of blood clots in the blood vessels or history of formation of blood clots in the blood vessels (if intended to be used for autologous blood transfusion)
as Epoetin beta may not be suitable for you.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- severe heart or blood vessel disease
- refractory anaemia with excess blasts in transformation (a type of blood cancer characterised by increases of immature blood cells in the bone marrow and/or blood in the periphery)
- high level of platelets (component of the blood that helps during clotting) in the blood
- sudden stabbing migraine-like headaches
- fits or seizures
- pure red cell aplasia (a condition in which the bone marrow stops making red blood cells, causing anaemia)
- liver failure
- kidney failure
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are going for dialysis or any surgery, inform your doctor that you are using Epoetin beta.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to this medicine regularly. Your doctor may also need to do routine blood tests (e.g. platelet counts, levels of potassium, phosphate in the blood) while you are being treated with this medicine. Your haemoglobin (protein in red blood cells) levels and iron (a mineral in the body essential for blood production) status should also be evaluated before and during treatment with Epoetin beta.
Epoetin beta may cause any of the following side effects: headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, chills, limb or bone pain, and redness, swelling, and pain at the injection site.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction e.g. rashes, breathlessness, swollen face
- signs and symptoms of formation of blood clots in the blood vessels e.g. leg pain, paleness or coolness of a leg
- signs and symptoms of severe high blood pressure e.g. sudden migraine-like headache, confusion, trouble speaking, unsteady gait
- signs and symptoms of pure red cell aplasia e.g. pale skin, tiredness, shortness of breath, dizziness
- fits or seizures
- severe rash with blisters, sores or peeling
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in the refrigerator, between 2-8°C. Do not allow to freeze. If frozen, this medicine will become ineffective and should not be used. Protect from light.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.