Also Known As: Erythropoetin, Epoetin alfa, Procrit, Epogen

Epoetin alfa (rINN) is human erythropoietin produced in cell culture using recombinant DNA technology. It stimulates erythropoiesis (increases red blood cell levels) and is used to treat anemia, commonly associated with chronic renal failure and cancer chemotherapy. Epoetin is marketed under the trade names Procrit and Epogen. Its annual cost to U.S. patients is $8,447

Epoetin alfa is generally well-tolerated. Common side effects include high blood pressure, headache, joint-pain and clotting at the injection site. Rare cases of stinging at the injection site, skin rash and flu-like symptoms (joint and muscle pain) have occurred within a few hours following administration. More serious side effects, including allergic reactions, seizures and thrombotic events (e.g., heart attacks, strokes, and pulmonary embolism) rarely occur. Chronic self-administration of the drug by two individuals caused increases in blood hemoglobin and hematocrit to abnormally high levels, resulting in dyspnea and abdominal pain

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