Epogen (generic name: epoetin alfa) is manufactured and marketed by Amgen Inc. to treat anemia. The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) approved Epogen in July 1999. Epogen belongs to a drug class called eryhropoiesis stimulating agents (“ESA”), which includes the drugs Procrit.  ESAs, including Epogen, are popular drugs with annual sales exceeding $10 billion.

What is Anemia?

Anemia is a condition in which a person’s hemoglobin level is too low. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein that circulates oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Hemoglobin is contained in red blood cells.

Anemia patients may have low red blood cell levels or high rates of red blood cell destruction. Anemia is common in patients with kidney failure or cancer because the diseases reduce the body’s ability to produce red blood cells. Anemia patients’ blood cannot properly circulate oxygen to various body parts. Anemia can cause serious and sometimes fatal heart damage and organ failure.

Anemia’s most common symptom is fatigue. Other Anemia symptoms may include:

  • shortness of breath
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • chest pain
  • pale skin
  • coldness in hands or feet

Epogen Approved Uses

The FDA approved Epogen to treat anemia in patients:

  • with chronic kidney failure being treated by dialysis
  • with cancer who are receiving chemotherapy treatment
  • scheduled for major surgery
  • with HIV who developed anemia from zidovudine therapy

How does Epogen Treat Anemia?

Epogen belongs to the drug class of erythropoiesis stimulating agents which produce erythropoietin. Erythropoietin is a human protein produced in the kidneys that regulates and increases red blood cell production. Injected Epogen stimulates erythropoietin, which increases red blood cell production and hemoglobin levels. Epogen reduces and controls anemia symptoms, however, Epogen does not cure anemia.

Epogen Side Effects

Epogen has several rare but serious side effects including:

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If you or a loved one has been injured by Epogen, or if you would like more information about Epogen, please contact us today.

Published November 17, 2011 by