Epoetin alfa – intravenous

Patient Medicine Information
Why do I need this medicine?
Epoetin alfa is used to treat anaemia (low red blood cell count) caused by:
  • chronic kidney disease (gradual loss of kidney function over a period of months or years)
  • zidovudine (medicine for HIV infection) in HIV-infected patients
  • chemotheraphy in patients with cancer
This medicine may also be used to reduce the need for a blood transfusion in patients undergoing surgery and who are at risk of blood loss.
How do I use this medicine?
Epoetin alfa injection is to be given intravenously (into the vein). It is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.

Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.

The dose of Epoetin alfa will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on the type and severity of your condition.
What should I do if I have forgotten to use this medicine?
Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any doses. Your doctor also needs to regularly monitor your response to Epoetin alfa.

If you miss an appointment or miss an injection, alert your doctor or nurse. A replacement appointment or injection should be given as soon as possible.
When should I not use this medicine?
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
  • uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • pure red cell aplasia (a condition in which the bone marrow stops making red blood cells, causing anaemia) that begins after treatment with Epoetin alfa or similar medicines
  • undergoing surgery (e.g. hip or knee surgery) and having severe heart and blood vessel disease; recent heart attack or stroke; and cannot take blood-thinning medicines
as Epoetin alfa may not be suitable for you.
What should I take note of while using this medicine?
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
  • diseases of the heart or blood vessels
  • cancer
  • chronic kidney disease (gradual loss of kidney function over a period of months or years)
  • history of high blood pressure
  • history of fits or seizures
  • severe anaemia or blood loss
  • liver failure
  • history or risk of formation of blood clots in the blood vessels (e.g. obesity)
  • porphyria (an inherited disorder that may cause skin or nerve problems)
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition (e.g. blood pressure, signs of seizures) and check your response to this medicine regularly. Your doctor may also need to do routine blood tests such as haemoglobin (protein in red blood cells) levels and platelet counts while you are being treated with this medicine. Your iron (a mineral in the body essential for blood production) status should also be evaluated before and during treatment with Epoetin alfa.
What side effects could I experience?
Epoetin alfa may cause any of the following side effects: headache, cough, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, bone pain, muscle pain, limb pain, fever, chills, flu-like illness, skin rash itching and swelling in the ankles, feet, or hands.

You may also experience redness, itching, pain, swelling, bruising, or a small amount of blood loss 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 high blood pressure e.g. sudden headache, vomiting, 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.
Can I use this with other medicines?
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
  • medicine used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders e.g. ciclosporin
  • medicine for cancer e.g. lenalidomide
  • nandrolone (medicine that acts like the male hormone testosterone)
  • desmopressin (medicine for excessive urination)
  • probenecid (medicine for gout)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Epoetin alfa.

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.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Avoid alcohol.
How should I store this medicine?
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. Do not shake. Protect from light.

Do not use this medicine if it becomes cloudy or if it has changed in colour. Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
This information is independently developed by MIMS based on epoetin alfa – intravenous and is provided for your reference only. It is not a replacement for and should only be used in conjunction with full consultation with a licensed healthcare professional, the information provided by your pharmacist and/or the manufacturer of the medication. It may not contain all the available information you require and cannot substitute professional medical care, nor does it take into account all individual circumstances. Although great effort has been made to ensure content accuracy, we shall not be held responsible or liable for any claims or damages arising from the use or misuse of the information contained herein, its contents or omissions, or otherwise. Copyright © 2021 MIMS. All rights reserved. Powered by MIMS.com
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