Procrit, generically known as epoetin alfa, is manufactured by Amgen Inc. and marketed by Ortho Biotech, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary. The FDA approved Procrit in 1999 to treat specific forms of anemia, a condition resulting in a low red blood cell count. Procrit belongs to a drug class called erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs), which also includes Aranesp and Epogen. Procrit is a popular drug. In 2006, Procrit sales reached about $5 billion, representing about a third of Amgen’s total sales.
Procrit Approved Uses
The FDA approved Procrit to treat anemia in:
- Patients with chronic kidney failure undergoing kidney dialysis
- Patients with cancer who are receiving chemotherapy
- Patients scheduled for major surgery
- Patients with HIV that develop anemia due to zidovudine therapy
Doctors prescribe Procrit for many off label uses including:
- Treating patients with kidney failure not undergoing dialysis
- Treating cancer patients not receiving chemotherapy
- Administrating doses that result in higher hemoglobin levels
What is Anemia?
Anemia occurs when a person has too few red blood cells or the red blood cells do not contain enough hemoglobin. Hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein, circulates oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Anemia patients’ blood cannot carry enough oxygen, depriving various body parts of vital oxygen. Anemia can cause serious and even fatal damage to the heart and other body organs.
Anemia can be caused by: blood loss, low red blood cell levels, or high rates of red blood cell destruction. Anemia is common in patients with kidney failure or cancer because these diseases reduce the body’s ability to produce red blood cells.
Anemia’s most common symptom is fatigue. Other Anemia symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin
- Coldness in hands and feet
- Chest pain
How Does Procrit treat Anemia?
Procrit, which belongs to the drug class called erythropoiesis stimulating agents, produces a manufactured version of erythropoietin. Erythropoietin is a human protein produced in the kidneys that regulates red blood cell production. When Procrit is injected, the erythropoietin stimulates and increases red blood cell production.
Procrit Side Effects
Procrit side effects may include:
Information on Procrit
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