Epogen Injections – Information, Uses, Side Effects and Dosage

epoetin alfa

Drug trade name- Epogen, Procrit

Category- Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESA, Treatment of Anemia)

Generic name- epoetin alfa                                                            

Introduction and Quick Information about Epogen:


Epogen is actually one of the potent man made proteins, which helps to produce more amounts of red blood cells. The quantity of this form of protein inside the body can be decreased when you experience kidney failure or make the use of certain medications. The low level of red blood cells known as anemia. Epogen is actually given in the form of an injection into a vein or under the skin.

Epogen is generally recommended for the treatment of anemia, a complication which occurs when the human body fails to produce sufficient amount of red blood cells. Although Epogen can prove to be quite useful for those experiencing anemia because of chemotherapy, chronic renal failure, and various other diseases. This medication is connected to a variety of serious side effects that should need to be discussed with a physician before starting the treatment.

Is Epogen Approved by FDA?

Yes, the U.S FDA has given its approval to Epogen in July 1999 for the treatment of anemia.

Usage and Benefits of Epogen:

Epogen is a prescribed medicine approved to treat anemia. It is included in the group of drugs called Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents (ESA). Generally, Epogen can be used for the following purposes:

  • Treating anemia, caused by the use of zidovudine (Combivir, Retrovir, Trizivir), which is an effective HIV medication
  • Treating anemia because of chronic kidney failure
  • Treating anemia caused by chemotherapy in those people who are suffering from cancer
  • Preventing blood transfusions in those individuals with anemia who are undergoing surgery

There are many triggering factors, which can cause anemia such as Chemotherapy and chronic kidney failure. Epogen is FDA-approved for the treatment of anemia caused by chemotherapy in those people who are experiencing non-myeloid cancers. This medication is also licensed to treat anemia in those who have chronic kidney failure, whether these people are on dialysis or not.

Lots of medicines can result in anemia and one of them is zidovudine, which is a prescribed medicine used to treat AIDS and HIV. Epogen is quite helpful to treat anemia occurred by the use of zidovudine.

 Side Effects of Epogen:

The term ‘side effects’ is something which can make the patients more scared than relaxed after knowing that their illness can be treated. Most of the time it happens that they skip or avoid using any drug just because of the side effects associated with that.  The only way to guard you against these side effects is by following them properly, accurately and on time. Some common Epogen side effects are:

  • Pain spreading to shoulder or arm
  • chest pain or heavy feeling
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • general ill feeling
  • sudden numbness or weakness
  • feeling short of breath
  • problems with speech, vision, or balance
  • sudden confusion
  • sudden headache
  • swelling pain or in one or both legs
  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;
  • swelling of your ankles or feet;
  • increased blood pressure
  • feeling fainting or light-headed
  • seizure (convulsions or black-out)
  • mild headache
  • extreme dizziness
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • flu symptoms or body aches
  • tenderness or pain where you injected the medicine

Seek the medical assistance in case you find any mentioned side effects.

General Recommended Dosages of Epogen:


Use this drug exactly in the same amount your doctor has prescribed to you. Never use it in a larger quantity or for longer than the prescribed period. Just follow the doctor’s instructions on your prescription label.

Your healthcare provider might change your dosage occasionally so that you reap positive benefits always.

This drug is generally given in the form of injection. Your nurse, doctor, or even the pharmacist will give some specific details and instructions about how to use and when to use this medication.

Don’t self-inject Epogen in case you are not fully aware of how to make the use of injection, needles, IV tubing, and various other things used in this treatment.

Use one disposable needle just one time and discard it.

Never shake vial (bottle) rigorously as it may ruin the medicine. Also, stop the use of Epogen if it has changed its color.

Store Epogen in the refrigerator and never allow it to freeze.

In case I Miss my Dose?

Most of the people, especially those who are very busy with their hectic lifestyles, tend to forget taking their medicines on time. However, this is not a big issue or a matter of concern. You can simply take the skipped dose when you remember about that. However, in case it the time to take the next prescribed dose, then don’t take the missed one.  

In case I Take Overdose?

Overdose consequences can be fatal. Many people take a double dose or extra dose by mistake or sometimes intentionally also. Some Epogen overdose symptoms include dizziness, headache, itching (particularly after bathing), and redness on the face, fullness in the upper stomach, vision problems and shortness of breath can occur. If you think you have taken Epogen in extra amounts or more than the prescribed dose, then ask for the medical assistance as soon as possible.

Drug Interactions of Epogen:

There is no known Epogen drug interaction. However, for safety reason, you have to inform your doctor about all the medications and drugs you use, including mineral and vitamin supplements and any other health product.

Lifestyle and Food Habits you must Follow when on Epogen:

Always bear this in your mind that if your lifestyle is healthy, your medication will work more efficiently. Some people don’t bother whether they are following a healthy lifestyle or an unhealthy tract and then these are the people who complain about the ineffectiveness of their drugs and sometimes abuse their doctors too. But, if you really want to enhance the efficacy of Epogen, then quit the intake of excessive alcohol and tobacco.

Also, inform your doctor if you have:

  • Uncontrolled or untreated high blood pressure
  • allergic towards albumin
  • allergic towards animal products
  • congestive heart failure, heart disease, or hypertension (high blood pressure);
  • a history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clots;
  • cancer
  • kidney disease
  • a clotting or blood cell disorder like hemophilia or sickle cell anemia

How Safe is Epogen for Pregnant Women or Nursing Mothers?

It is not sure whether this drug can cause harm to an unborn infant or not but yes, majority of the drugs are not so safe for the unborn babies. Hence, to protect your little one, always inform your healthcare provider in advance if you are expecting, a nursing mother or planning to become a mom. Well, it is believed this medication can reach the baby through the mother’s breast milk and can do harm, as an adults body is different from a newborn’s. Its better to consult your doctor before taking this medicine.

Complications and Conditions Possible due to Prolonged use of Epogen:

Well, there is no such evidence which claims the habit-forming ability of Epogen. It is generally believed that the prolonged and an extended use of any drug can make people addicted. Hence, never stop its use completely without consulting your physician first. Suddenly quitting its use may lead to some withdrawal symptoms.   

Availability of the Epogen:

You have two options to purchase this drug. Firstly, you can visit any nearby local drug store that is government approved or secondly, you can visit the websites of some certified drug companies which offer customers the desired drug along with the complete and genuine information about the same.