Home > Health Library > Erythropoietin Stimulating Agents
Erythropoietin stimulating agents can be given two ways. They may
be injected into a vein with an intravenous (IV) needle or injected under the
skin (subcutaneous). Talk to your doctor about which way is best for you.
Erythropoietin stimulating agents cause the bone
marrow to produce more red blood cells, and they decrease your need for blood
transfusions. Anemia often occurs because of a decrease in
erythropoietin, a hormone produced by the kidneys.
Injections of erythropoietin stimulating agents replace this hormone.
Erythropoietin stimulating agents replace the
erythropoietin normally made by the kidneys. Therapy with erythropoietin stimulating agents may be used to treat anemia:
Erythropoietin stimulating agents treat
anemia by increasing the number of new red blood cells your body makes. This
may decrease your need for blood transfusions. Your dose of an erythropoietin stimulating agent may need to be adjusted so that you can keep a certain red blood cell count
Things that may make this therapy less effective
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
Most people do not have problems
with erythropoietin stimulating agents. They can help improve how well you feel and
increase your appetite, energy, and activity levels.
It may be
dangerous to use erythropoietin stimulating agents to increase your red blood cell
(hemoglobin) levels above 12 g/dL. Hemoglobin levels that are too high may
increase your risk for death, heart failure, heart attack, and stroke. Talk
with your doctor about your concerns. And keep all your appointments for blood
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
August 29, 2013
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
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