darbepoetin alfa
 Darbepoetin Alfa

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Aranesp, Aranesp Albumin Free, |darbepoetin alfa Darbepoetin Alfa

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darbepoetin alfa

Generic Name: darbepoetin alfa (dar be POE e tin AL fa)
Brand Names: Aranesp, Aranesp Albumin Free

What is darbepoetin alfa?

Darbepoetin alfa is a man-made form of a protein that helps your body produce red blood cells. The amount of this protein in your body may be reduced when you have kidney failure or use certain medications. When fewer red blood cells are produced, you can develop a condition called anemia.

Darbepoetin alfa is used to treat anemia (a lack of red blood cells in the body).

Darbepoetin alfa may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about darbepoetin alfa?

This medicine can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke. This risk will increase the longer you use darbepoetin alfa. Seek emergency medical help if you have symptoms of heart or circulation problems, such as chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, shortness of breath, slurred speech, or problems with vision or balance. Do not use darbepoetin alfa if you have high blood pressure (hypertension) that is not controlled by diet and/or medication.

Before using darbepoetin alfa, tell your doctor if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, cancer, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, or a history of stroke or blood clots.

To be sure this medication is helping your body produce red blood cells, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. You may also need to check your blood pressure during treatment. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Contact your doctor if you feel weak, light-headed, or short of breath, or if your skin looks pale. These may be signs that your body has stopped responding to darbepoetin alfa. Some women using darbepoetin alfa have started having menstrual periods, even after not having a period for a long time due to a medical condition. You may be able to get pregnant if your periods restart. Talk with your doctor about the need for birth control.

Darbepoetin alfa is made from human plasma (part of the blood) and may contain viruses and other infectious agents that can cause disease. Although donated human plasma is screened, tested, and treated to reduce the risk of it containing anything that could cause disease, there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using darbepoetin alfa?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to darbepoetin alfa, epoetin alfa (Epogen or Procrit), or if you have:
  • untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure;

  • an allergy to animal products; or

  • an allergy to albumin.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you have:

  • heart disease, congestive heart failure, or high blood pressure;

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);

  • a history of stroke, heart attack, or blood clots;

  • a blood cell or clotting disorder, such as sickle cell anemia or hemophilia;

  • cancer; or

  • epilepsy or another seizure disorder.

If you have any of the conditions listed above, you may not be able to use darbepoetin alfa or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.

Darbepoetin alfa is made from human plasma (part of the blood) and may contain viruses and other infectious agents that can cause disease. Although donated human plasma is screened, tested, and treated to reduce the risk of it containing anything that could cause disease, there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether darbepoetin alfa passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Some women using darbepoetin alfa have started having menstrual periods, even after not having a period for a long time due to a medical condition. You may be able to get pregnant if your periods restart. Talk with your doctor about the need to use birth control while you are using darbepoetin alfa.

Darbepoetin alfa may shorten remission time in some people with head and neck cancer who are also being treated with radiation. Darbepoetin alfa may also shorten survival time in certain people with breast cancer. Talk with your doctor about your individual risk.

How should I use darbepoetin alfa?

Use this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not use the medication in larger amounts, or use it for longer than recommended by your doctor.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

Darbepoetin alfa is given as an injection under the skin or into a vein. Your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist will give you specific instructions on how and where to inject this medicine. With your medication you will receive patient instructions.

Do not use this medicine at home if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of needles and other items used in giving the medicine.

Do not shake the medication vial (bottle). Vigorous shaking can ruin the medicine. Do not draw your darbepoetin alfa dose into a syringe until you are ready to give yourself an injection. Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has any particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription.

Use each needle and syringe only one time. With your medicine you will receive a puncture-proof container for used needles and syringes. If you do not receive a container, ask your pharmacist where you can get one. Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets. Your pharmacist can tell you how to properly dispose of the container.

Use each needle and syringe only one time. With your medicine you will receive a puncture-proof container for used needles and syringes. If you do not receive a container, ask your pharmacist for one. Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets. Your pharmacist can tell you how to properly dispose of the container.

Store darbepoetin alfa in the refrigerator and do not allow it to freeze.

To be sure this medication is helping your body produce red blood cells, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. You may also need to check your blood pressure during treatment. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss a dose of darbepoetin alfa.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of a darbepoetin alfa overdose may include headache, dizziness, itching (especially after bathing), fullness in your upper stomach, redness of the face, shortness of breath, and vision problems.

What should I avoid while using darbepoetin alfa?

Darbepoetin alfa can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Darbepoetin alfa side effects

Contact your doctor if you feel unusually weak or tired, or if your skin looks pale. These may be signs that your body has stopped responding to darbepoetin alfa.

Darbepoetin alfa can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke. This risk will increase the longer you use darbepoetin alfa. Seek emergency medical help if you have symptoms of heart or circulation problems, such as:
  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;

  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;

  • sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;

  • sudden headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance; or

  • pain or swelling in one or both legs.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using darbeopoetin alfa and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;

  • swelling of your ankles or feet;

  • increased blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, trouble concentrating, chest pain, numbness, seizure);

  • feeling light-headed, fainting; or

  • seizure (black-out or convulsions).

Continue using darbepoetin alfa and talk to your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:

  • dizziness, mild headache;

  • fever, sore throat, body aches, flu symptoms;

  • joint or muscle pain;

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, constipation; or

  • bruising, swelling, warmth, redness, oozing, or bleeding where the IV needle is placed.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect darbepoetin alfa?

There may be other drugs that can affect darbepoetin alfa. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about darbepoetin alfa written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Darbepoetin alfa is available with a prescription under the brand name Aranesp. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ("Multum") is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum"s drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum"s drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.04. Revision Date: 04/13/2007 9:27:32 AM.




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