Darbepoetin alfa 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).
Anaemia is characterised as a low level of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.
Darbepoetin alfa is to be given intravenously (into the vein) via an injection. It is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.
Your doctor or nurse will administer this medicine for you.
The dose of Darbepoetin alfa will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on the severity of your condition, effectiveness of therapy and your tolerability to 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 Darbepoetin 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.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- high blood pressure that is not controlled
- pure red cell aplasia (a condition in which the bone marrow stops making red blood cells, causing anaemia) that begins after treatment with Darbepoetin alfa or similar medicines
as this medicine may not be suitable for you.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- disease of the heart or of the blood vessels e.g. heart attack, stroke, formation of blood clots in the blood vessels
- high level of platelets in the blood
- history of high blood pressure
- seizures or history of seizures
- sickle cell anaemia (a type of anaemia or low level of red blood cells)
- liver disease
- chronic kidney disease (gradual loss of kidney function over a period of months or years)
- severe anaemia or blood loss.
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 Darbepoetin alfa.
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 Darbepoetin alfa.
Darbepoetin alfa may cause any of the following side effects: stomach pain, shortness of breath, cough, injection site pain and swelling of the ankles, feet, or hands.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- signs or 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. chest pain, sudden confusion, trouble speaking, weakness or numbness in your face or in one of your limbs, loss of balance or coordination, leg pain, paleness or coolness of a leg, coughing up blood
- signs and symptoms of high blood pressure e.g. drowsiness, headache, confusion, eye problems, nausea, vomiting
- fits or seizures
- signs and symptoms of pure red cell aplasia e.g. pale skin, tiredness, dizziness
- 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.
Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any medicine for certain immune disorders e.g. ciclosporin, tacrolimus.
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.
Do not shake.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.