Procrit - Epoetin Alfa Injection
What is this medication?
EPOETIN ALFA (e POE e tin AL fa) treats low levels of red blood cells (anemia) caused by kidney disease, chemotherapy, or HIV medications. It can also be used in people who are at risk for blood loss during surgery. It works by helping your body make more red blood cells, which reduces the need for blood transfusions.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Epogen, Procrit, Retacrit
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- Blood clots
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- On dialysis
- An unusual or allergic reaction to epoetin alfa, albumin, benzyl alcohol, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
This medication is injected into a vein or under the skin. It is usually given by your care team in a hospital or clinic setting. It may also be given at home.
If you get this medication at home, you will be taught how to prepare and give it. Use exactly as directed. Take it as directed on the prescription label at the same time every day. Keep taking it unless your care team tells you to stop.
It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or care team to get one.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. While this medication may be used in children as young as 1 month of age for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medication?
- Darbepoetin alfa
- Methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. Check your blood pressure as directed. Know what your blood pressure should be and when to contact your care team. Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medication.
You may need blood work while taking this medication.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
- Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Blood clot—pain, swelling, or warmth in the leg, shortness of breath, chest pain
- Heart attack—pain or tightness in the chest, shoulders, arms, or jaw, nausea, shortness of breath, cold or clammy skin, feeling faint or lightheaded
- Increase in blood pressure
- Rash, fever, and swollen lymph nodes
- Redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
- Stroke—sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, trouble speaking, confusion, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination, dizziness, severe headache, change in vision
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
- Bone, joint, or muscle pain
- Pain, redness, or irritation at injection site
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
Store in a refrigerator. Do not freeze. Do not shake. Protect from light. Keep this medication in the original container until you are ready to take it. See product for storage information. Get rid of any unused medication after the expiration date.
To get rid of medications that are no longer needed or have expired:
- Take the medication to a medication take-back program. Check with your pharmacy or law enforcement to find a location.
- If you cannot return the medication, ask your pharmacist or care team how to get rid of the medication safely.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Additional Information From Chemocare.com About Procrit
- Consult with your doctor regarding iron supplements while taking epoetin alfa.
- If you experience some nausea and vomiting while receiving this drug, but small frequent meals, chewing gum, lozenges, and good mouth care may help.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided completely. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.
When to Contact Your Doctor
Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:
- Tremors or seizures
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Sudden severe headache
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication)
- Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24-hour period)
- Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
- Swelling of the face, feet, hands, arms or legs
- Swelling, redness and pain in one leg or arm and not the other
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.