December 21, 2014
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Eprex

(epoetin alfa)

DIN (Drug Identification Number)

02243401 EPREX STERILE SOLUTION 6000 IU/0.6 ML
02243403 EPREX STERILE SOLUTION 8000 IU/0.8 ML
02231587 EPREX STERILE SOLUTION 10000IU/1.0ML
02231583 EPREX STERILE SOLUTION 1000IU/0.5ML
02243239 EPREX 20000U/0.5ML SYRINGE
02206072 EPREX STERILE SOLUTION 20000IU/ML
02231584 EPREX STERILE SOLUTION 2000IU/0.5ML
02231585 EPREX STERILE SOLUTION 3000IU/0.3ML
02240722 EPREX STERILE SOLUTION 40000IU/ML
02231586 EPREX STERILE SOLUTION 4000IU/0.4ML
02243400 EPREX STERILE SOLUTION 5000IU/0.5ML
02288680 EPREX STERILE SOLUTION 30000IU/0.75ML SYRINGE

How does Eprex work? What will it do for me?

Eprex® is synthetic erythropoietin (epoetin alfa) and is used to replace the erythropoietin that is lacking in people who can't make enough, usually because their kidneys are not working properly. Epoetin alfa is used to treat anemia in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD), whether or not they are on dialysis.

Erythropoietin is produced naturally in the body, mostly by the kidneys. It gives bone marrow the signal to produce red blood cells (RBCs), which carry oxygen in the blood. Epoetin alfa works by causing increased red blood cell production by the body. If the body does not produce enough erythropoietin, severe anemia (lack of oxygen reaching the different parts of the body) can occur.

Epoetin alfa is also used to treat people with cancer who develop anemia because of chemotherapy treatment. When chemotherapy is given to people with cancer, their bodies may not be able to produce enough erythropoietin. As a result, they can become anemic. Epoetin alfa has only been studied in people who have non-myeloid cancers (cancers other than bone marrow cancers).

Epoetin alfa is also used to treat anemia before certain surgeries and for people with HIV who are taking the medication zidovudine. It can also be used to increase RBC production in certain patients scheduled for surgery. It takes at least 2 weeks (and as long as 6 weeks) for a noticeable response to the medication.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are using this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should I use Eprex?

Epoetin alfa is available only as an injection, which is given subcutaneously (under the skin) or intravenously (into a vein). People who receive the medication under the skin can usually be taught to self-administer the medication. Be sure you understand exactly how it is to be injected, as instructed by your doctor or nurse. People who need to receive the medication into a vein will need to have the medication administered by a doctor or nurse.

For children with chronic renal failure, the starting dose for anemia is 50 units (IU) per kilogram body weight, given 3 times a week.

For adults with chronic renal failure, the starting dose for anemia is 50 to 100 units per kilogram of body weight, injected three times a week.

For anemia in adults with HIV, the usual starting dose is 100 units per kilogram body weight, injected 3 times a week.

For people with anemia due to chemotherapy, the starting dose is 150 units per kilogram of body weight, injected subcutaneously 3 times a week. As an alternative, epoetin alfa may be injected subcutaneously once weekly as a dose of 40,000 units.

When epoetin alfa is used in people scheduled for surgery, higher doses are used.

Your doctor may need to adjust the dose according to your body's response to the medication. Adjustments usually involve blood tests and are not done more often than once every 4 weeks. While you are being treated with epoetin alfa, your doctor may want you to take iron supplements to help the medication work as well as possible.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, administer it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not administer a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

If you miss an appointment to receive epoetin alfa, contact your doctor as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.

Epoetin alfa should be refrigerated and protected from light. Do not shake the medication before use.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.





What form(s) does Eprex come in?

Single-use vials
Each mL of sterile solution contains epoetin alfa 1,000 IU, 2,000 IU, 4,000 IU, 10,000 IU, or 40,000 IU. Nonmedicinal ingredients: glycine and polysorbate 80 as stabilizers, sodium chloride, sodium phosphate dibasic dihydrate, sodium phosphate monobasic dihydrate, and water for injection.

Pre-filled syringes
Each syringe of sterile solution contains epoetin alfa 1,000 IU, 2,000 IU, 3,000 IU, 4,000 IU, 5,000 IU, 6,000 IU, 8,000 IU, 10,000 IU, 20,000 IU, 30,000 IU, or 40,000 IU. Nonmedicinal ingredients: glycine and polysorbate 80 as stabilizers, sodium chloride, sodium phosphate dibasic dihydrate, sodium phosphate monobasic dihydrate, and water for injection.

Who should NOT take Eprex?

Do not take this medication if you:

  • are allergic to epoetin alfa or any ingredients of the medication
  • are allergic to medications made from mammalian cells
  • are scheduled for surgery and have severe disease of the heart or blood vessels
  • have developed a condition called pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) after using erythropoiesis-stimulating proteins (e.g., epoetin alfa, darbepoetin alfa)
  • have uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • cannot receive medication to treat blood clotting

Premature and newborn infants should not receive epoetin alfa from the multi-dose vials as they contain benzyl alcohol.

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