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Epo

Generic Name: epoetin alfa
Brands: Epogen, Procrit


What is the most important information I should know about Epo?

· Do not give yourself an injection if you are not sure how to inject yourself, how much to inject, and how often to inject your medication. Call your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist for help with the instructions.

· During the first 3 months of treatment with Epo, use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Epo has been reported to cause seizures in patients on dialysis, although this side effect is uncommon. If seizures occur, they generally do so during the first 90 days of treatment.

 

What is Epo?

· Epo is a man-made form of a naturally occurring protein called erythropoietin. Erythropoietin is produced in the kidney and stimulates the production of red blood cells. The amount of erythropoietin in the body may be diminished when the kidneys are damaged. Medications may also decrease the number of red blood cells.

· Epo is used to treat anemia by stimulating red blood cell production.

· Epo may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

 

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using Epo?

· Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you have     ·high blood pressure;     ·heart disease;     ·cancer; or     ·epilepsy or another seizure disorder.

· You may not be able to use Epo, or you may require a lower dose or special monitoring if you have any of the conditions listed above.

· Epo is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is not known whether Epo will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant.

· It is also not known whether Epo passes into breast milk. Do not use this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

 

How should I use Epo?

· Use Epo exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

· Epo may be injected subcutaneously (under the skin) or intravenously (into a vein). Your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist will give you specific instructions on how and where to inject your medication. Do not give yourself an injection if you are not sure how to inject yourself, how much to inject, or how often to inject your medication. Call your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist for help with the instructions.

 

· Allow the medication to reach room temperature before measuring a dose.

· Do not shake the vial of Epo. Vigorous shaking can ruin the medication.

· Properly store and discard all syringes and needles.

· Store Epo in the refrigerator at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit) away from light, moisture, and the reach of children.

 

What happens if I miss a dose?

· Contact your doctor if you miss a dose of this medication.

 

What happens if I overdose?

· Seek emergency medical attention.

· Symptoms of an Epo overdose are not known.

 

What should I avoid while using Epo?

· During the first 3 months of treatment with Epo, use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Epo has been reported to cause seizures in patients on dialysis, although this side effect is uncommon. If seizures occur, they generally do so during the first 90 days of treatment.

 

What are the possible side effects of Epo?

· If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop using Epo and seek emergency medical treatment:     ·an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives); or     ·seizures.

· Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to use Epo and talk to your doctor if you experience     ·increased blood pressure;     ·headache;     ·a "flulike" feeling;     ·increased heart rate;     ·nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea;     ·numbness or tingling;     ·tiredness;     ·muscle aches;     ·a rash; or     ·injection site discomfort.

· 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 Epo?

· It is not known whether Epo will interact with other medicines. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

 

Where can I get more information?

· Your pharmacist has additional information about Epo written for health professionals that you may read.


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