Epoetin Alfa

Adult Medication

Brand Names: US

Epogen; Procrit

Brand Names: Canada



  • People with high hemoglobin levels had a higher chance of blood clots, like heart attack and stroke, and death with this drug. Talk with the doctor.
  • People with some types of cancer have died sooner when using this drug. This drug also raised the chance of tumor growth and the tumor happening again in these people. Talk with the doctor.
  • Your doctor will need to watch your blood cell counts and follow you closely to change the dose to match your body’s needs. Talk with your doctor.
  • Cancer patients can only get this drug if doctors or hospitals are in the ESA APPRISE Oncology Program.
  • If you will be having surgery, talk with your doctor. You may need to take another drug to keep you from getting blood clots while you get this drug.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat anemia.
  • It is used to help avoid the need for blood transfusions.
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

All products:

  • If you have an allergy to epoetin alfa or any other part of this drug.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have very high blood pressure.
  • If you have a kind of anemia called Pure Red Cell Aplasia (PRCA).

Multi-dose container:

  • If you are pregnant or may be pregnant. Do not use this drug if you are pregnant.
  • If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take this drug.


  • If your child is a premature baby or is a newborn. Do not give this drug to a premature baby or a newborn.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?

All products:

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • This drug is made from human plasma (part of the blood) and may have viruses that may cause disease. This drug is screened, tested, and treated to lower the chance that it carries an infection. Talk with the doctor.
  • High blood pressure has happened with this drug. Have your blood pressure checked as you have been told by your doctor.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.

Multi-dose container:

  • This drug has benzyl alcohol in it. Benzyl alcohol may cause very bad and sometimes deadly side effects in newborns or infants. Talk with the doctor.

All other products:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this drug while you are pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of high blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
  • Signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
  • Signs of low potassium levels like muscle pain or weakness, muscle cramps, or a heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
  • Shortness of breath, a big weight gain, swelling in the arms or legs.
  • Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, or blurred eyesight.
  • Feeling confused.
  • Swelling, warmth, numbness, change of color, or pain in a leg or arm.
  • Cool or pale arm or leg.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Trouble walking.
  • Dizziness or passing out.
  • Sweating a lot.
  • Seizures.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Pale skin.
  • Trouble swallowing.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
  • Irritation where the shot is given.
  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Cough.
  • Bone, joint, or muscle pain.
  • Muscle spasm.
  • Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
  • Weight loss.
  • Not able to sleep.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best taken?

Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
  • It is given as a shot into the fatty part of the skin.
  • It may be given as a shot into a vein.
  • To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
  • Keep using this drug as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
  • If you will be giving yourself the shot, your doctor or nurse will teach you how to give the shot.
  • Follow how to use as you have been told by the doctor or read the package insert.
  • Do not shake.
  • Do not use if it has been shaken.
  • Wash your hands before and after use.
  • Do not use if the solution is cloudy, leaking, or has particles.
  • Do not use if solution changes color.
  • Do not use if it has been frozen.
  • Do not give into red or irritated skin.
  • Throw away needles in a needle/sharp disposal box. Do not reuse needles or other items. When the box is full, follow all local rules for getting rid of it. Talk with a doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Call your doctor to find out what to do.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

All products:

  • Store in a refrigerator. Do not freeze.
  • Protect from light.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

Single-use vial:

  • Throw away any part not used after use.

Multi-dose container:

  • Throw away any part not used after 3 weeks.

Prefilled syringes:

  • If you cannot store in a refrigerator, you may store at room temperature for up to 7 days.
  • Throw away any part not used after use.

General drug facts

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Last Reviewed Date



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