Aranesp - Information on Medicines - Chemocare (2023)

generic name:Darbepoetin alfa

Brand names:Aranesp®

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Aranesp is the brand name for darbepoetin alfa. In some cases, healthcare professionals may use the trade name Aranesp when referring to the generic drug name darbepoetin alfa.

Art des Medicines:Darbepoetin alfa is a biologic response modifier. It is an erythropoiesis-stimulating protein. (See the "How this medicine works" section below for more details.)

What darbepoetin alfa is used for:

  • Darbepoetin alfa is a supportive medication. It does not treat cancer.
  • Anemia associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
  • Anemia is caused by chemotherapy treatment of cancer.
  • Symptomatic anemia associated with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

Note: Once a drug is approved for one use, doctors can use the same drug for other conditions if they think it might help.

How darbepoetin alfa is given:

  • This medication may be given by injection under the skin (layer of tissue between the skin and muscle) in the upper arm, abdomen, or thigh.
  • This medication may also be given as an infusion into a vein (intravenous, IV).
  • The amount of darbepoetin alfa that you receive depends on many factors, including your height and weight, your general health or other conditions, and the type of cancer or condition being treated. Your doctor will determine your dose and schedule.

Side effects of darbepoetin alfa:

Important notes about the side effects of darbepoetin alfa:

  • Most people do not experience all of the listed side effects.
  • Darbepoetin alfa side effects are often predictable in terms of onset and duration.
  • The side effects of darbepoetin alfa are almost always reversible and disappear after the end of treatment.
  • There are many ways to minimize or prevent side effects.
  • There is no relationship between the presence or severity of side effects and the effectiveness of the drug.
  • Side effects of darbepoetin alfa can also be attributed to cancer and/or chemotherapy treatment.

The following side effects are common (more than 30%) in patients taking darbepoetin alfa:

  • hypertension

These side effects areless commonSide effects (occurring in approximately 10-29% of patients receiving darbepoetin alfa):

  • Edema(swelling, usually in the feet or hands)
  • stomachache
  • Dyspnoea
  • Tos

Rare but serious side effects associated with darbepoetin alfa include an increase in serious heart complications, heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and death when attempts are made to increase the amount of hemoglobin in the blood. Other rare but serious side effects include a shorter life expectancy and the possibility of the cancer getting worse or spreading. Healthcare professionals will use the lowest dose of darbepoetin alfa necessary to avoid blood transfusions.

Due to the potential risks of darbepoetin alfa therapy, healthcare professionals should discuss the risks and benefits of darbepoetin alfa use with the patient. Patients should help complete an acknowledgment form with their doctor stating that the risks and benefits of using darbepoetin alfa have been explained.

It is important that patients report any side effects to their doctor immediately. Patients' blood pressure should be closely monitored and blood samples taken so tests can be done to ensure it is safe to continue using darbepoetin alfa.

Not all side effects are listed above. Some that are rare (occurring in less than 10% of patients) are not included here. However, you should always tell your doctor if you notice any unusual symptoms.

When to contact your doctor or healthcare professional:

Contact your healthcare providerimmediately, day or night if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • tremors or seizures
  • labored breathing
  • chest pain

The following symptoms require medical attention but are not emergencies. Contact your healthcare providerwithin 24 hoursConsider the following:

  • Nausea (interferes with the ability to eat and is not relieved by prescription medications).
  • Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in 24 hours).
  • swelling of the face, hands, feet, arms, or legs.
  • Extreme fatigue (unable to take care of yourself).
  • Swelling, redness, and/or pain in one leg or arm and not the other.

Always tell your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms.


  • Before starting darbepoetin alfa treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about all other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.).
  • Darbopoetin alfa should be used with caution in people with high blood pressure. The manufacturer warns that darbepoetin alfa should not be used in people with uncontrolled high blood pressure.
  • Caution should be exercised in patients with a history of seizures, as darbepoetin alfa increases the risk of seizures.
  • Tell your doctor if you are or might be pregnant before starting this treatment. Pregnancy category C (use during pregnancy only if the benefit to the mother outweighs the risk to the fetus).
  • Prior to treatment, correct or rule out iron, vitamin B12 and/or folic acid deficiencies and other factors that may alter erythropoiesis (inflammatory diseases, infections, bleeding).
  • Talk to your doctor about when it is safe to become pregnant or conceive after therapy.
  • It is not known whether darbepoetin alfa is excreted in human milk. Since many drugs are excreted in breast milk, care should be taken when administering darbepoetin alfa to lactating women.

Personal care tips with Dabepoetin Alfa:

  • The manufacturer advises that iron supplements may be helpful during treatment with darbepoetin alfa. However, you should consult your doctor before starting this therapy.
  • You may experience nausea and vomiting for a few days after taking this medication, but frequent small meals, chewing, lozenges, and good oral hygiene may help.
  • Avoid contact sports or activities that can cause injury.
  • In general, the consumption of alcoholic beverages should be minimized or avoided altogether. You should discuss this with your doctor.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • To have a good diet.
  • If you notice any symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your healthcare team. They can prescribe medications and/or make other suggestions that are effective in handling such problems.

Monitoring and testing:

While you are taking darbepoetin alfa, you will be monitored regularly by your doctor to monitor side effects and to check your response to therapy. Your doctor will also order regular blood tests to check your complete blood count (CBC). Your blood pressure will be checked regularly.

How darbepoetin alfa works:

Intestinal stimulating factors:

Blood cells are made in the body's bone marrow (the soft, spongy material inside bones). There are three main types of blood cells; white blood cells, which fight infection; red blood cells, which carry oxygen to organs and tissues and remove waste from them; and platelets, which allow blood to clot. Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can affect cells that put a person at risk of developing infections, anemia, and bleeding problems. Colony stimulating factors are substances that stimulate the production of blood cells and promote their ability to function. They do not act directly on tumors, but through their role in stimulating blood cells, they can support a person's immune system during cancer treatment.

Darbepoetin alfa is a man-made erythropoietic protein similar to a natural substance in your body called erythropoietin (e-rith-ro-poy-e-tin), which is produced by the kidneys. The erythropoietin is then transported through the bloodstream to the bone marrow to make more red blood cells. Darbepoetin alfa acts like this naturally occurring compound, which is not always able to stimulate proper red blood cell production during chemotherapy and in cancer patients. Patients are anemic for a variety of reasons, including anemia of chronic disease.

Hemoglobin is the iron-containing substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. The normal range for hemoglobin is around 12 to 18 g/dL and varies with age and gender. Doctors may prescribe darbepoetin alfa for patients receiving chemotherapy whose hemoglobin levels have fallen below normal.

Observation:We strongly recommend that you talk to your doctor about your medical condition and specific treatments. The information on this site is intended to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice. is designed to provide patients and their families, caregivers and friends with the latest information on chemotherapy. You can find information about the 4th Engel Mentoring Program


Is Aranesp a chemo drug? ›

Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) is an erythropoiesis-stimulating agent, or ESA, used to treat anemia (a lack of red blood cells in the body) in people with long-term serious kidney disease (chronic renal failure) and people receiving chemotherapy for some types of cancer.

When should you not give Aranesp injection? ›

Do not use Aranesp: - if you are allergic to darbepoetin alfa or any of the other ingredients of this medicine listed in section 6. - if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure which is not being controlled with other medicines prescribed by your doctor.

Who should not take Aranesp? ›

If you have a serious allergic reaction, stop using Aranesp and call your healthcare provider or get medical help right away. The needle cover on the prefilled syringe contains latex. If you know you are allergic to latex, talk to your healthcare provider before using Aranesp.

How long do you take Aranesp? ›

Indications. Aranesp® is a prescription medicine used to treat a lower than normal number of red blood cells (anemia) caused by chemotherapy that will be used for at least two months after starting Aranesp®.

How much does a shot of Aranesp cost? ›

The cost for Aranesp injectable solution (25 mcg/mL) is around $825 for a supply of 4 milliliters, depending on the pharmacy you visit.
Injectable Solution.
QuantityPer unitPrice
1 milliliter$1,639.54$1,639.54

How much does Aranesp injection cost? ›

The standard out-of-pocket price of Aranesp (Albumin Free) without health insurance is $386.43 per 1, 4ML of 40MCG/0.4ML Solution Prefilled Syringe but you can save using a SingleCare Aranesp (Albumin Free) coupon to pay only $312.65 for 1, 4ml of 40mcg/0.4ml Syringe of generic Aranesp (Albumin Free).

What precautions should be taken with Aranesp? ›

The needle cover of the prefilled syringe contains dry natural rubber (a derivative of latex), which may cause allergic reactions. Do not shake. Do not use Aranesp that has been shaken or frozen. Protect vials and prefilled syringes from light.

Where is the best place to inject Aranesp? ›

- Choose an area of skin on the front of your thigh OR in the stomach area, at least 2 inches away from the belly button. If you have a trained caregiver, they can choose the upper outer area of your arms or buttocks. - Always rotate the sites where you inject, to avoid injuring your skin.

How often should Aranesp be given? ›

Aranesp® is the only long-acting erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) approved for both once weekly (QW) and once every three weeks (Q3W) dosing.

How safe is Aranesp? ›

Aranesp increases the risk of death, myocardial infarction, stroke, venous thromboembolism, and thrombosis of vascular access and tumor progression or recurrence.

What is an alternative to Aranesp? ›

Procrit (epoetin alfa)

How do you know if Aranesp is working? ›

Blood tests should be done often to check how well this medication is working and to decide the correct dose for you. Consult your doctor for more details.

Does Medicare pay for Aranesp? ›

Do Medicare prescription drug plans cover Aranesp? No. In general, Medicare prescription drug plans (Part D) do not cover this drug. Be sure to contact your specific plan to verify coverage information.

Does Aranesp always work? ›

Sometimes Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) doesn't work or stops working after a while. If your anemia doesn't respond to the medication, your provider will evaluate potential factors that might be the cause. One possible reason is having low iron levels, so it's important to take iron supplements if prescribed or directed.

What happens if you take too much Aranesp? ›

Your body may make antibodies to Aranesp that can block or lessen your body's ability to make red blood cells and cause you to have severe anemia. Symptoms to watch for include: unusual tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness, or fainting.

Does Aranesp increase hemoglobin? ›

Aranesp Dosed Once Every Two Weeks Increases Hemoglobin Levels, Improves Fatigue And Reduces Need For Transfusions In Patients With Chemotherapy-Induced Anemia| Amgen.

What happens if you miss an Aranesp injection? ›

o If you miss a dose of Aranesp, call your healthcare provider right away and ask what to do. o If you take more than the prescribed dose of Aranesp, call your healthcare provider right away. During treatment with Aranesp, continue to follow your healthcare provider's instructions for diet and medicines.

Can Aranesp be given at home? ›

Use these instructions if you or your caregiver has been trained to give Aranesp injections at home. Do not give yourself the injection unless you have received training from your healthcare provider. If you are not sure about giving the injection or if you have questions, ask your healthcare provider for help.

Which patient undergoing chemotherapy should be prescribed darbepoetin Aranesp )? ›

You should only receive darbepoetin alfa injection to treat anemia caused by chemotherapy if your chemotherapy is expected to continue for at least 2 months after you begin treatment with darbepoetin alfa injection and if there is not a high chance that your cancer will be cured.

How long can Aranesp be out of the fridge? ›

maximum single period of seven days at room temperature (up to 25°C). Once a syringe has been removed from the refrigerator and has reached room temperature (up to 25°C) it must either be used within 7 days or disposed of. Darbepoetin alfa must not be shaken.

Should Aranesp be refrigerated? ›

Looking after your medicine

Keep Aranesp in the refrigerator (between 2 and 8°C). You can use Aranesp if it has been left out of the refrigerator, for no longer than 2 days at room temperature (up to 30°C). Do not freeze.

How long does Aranesp last in the fridge? ›

Aranesp, Aranesp SureClick · Amgen Ltd

Aranesp may be removed from the fridge for storage once for a maximum single period of 7 days at room temperature (up to 25°C). Once removed from the refrigerator it must either be used within 7 days or disposed of.

Which fruit is good for increase blood? ›

Fruits: Raisins, prunes, dried figs, apricots, apples, grapes and watermelons not only get the red blood cells flowing but also improve the blood count. Citrus fruits like oranges, amla or Indian gooseberry, lime and grapefruit help to attract iron. They play a very important role in increasing blood count.

What labs are needed for Aranesp? ›

You will be asked to have blood tests that will check the number of red blood cells your body is producing. The blood tests will see if Aranesp® is working and if your hemoglobin level is getting too high. Your doctor may refer to the results of your blood tests as hemoglobin and hematocrit.

Is there a shot to improve kidney function? ›

FDA has approved Terlivaz (terlipressin) injection to improve kidney function in adults with hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) with rapid reduction in kidney function. Terlivaz is the first FDA-approved medication for this condition.

Is Procrit and Aranesp the same? ›

The differences between the two drugs are not limited to molecular structure: While Procrit is measured in units per kilogram of the patient's weight, Aranesp is measured in micrograms per kg. There is currently no formula for direct comparison of dosages measured in units to those measured by weight.

What drugs increase red blood cells? ›

Epoetin injection is a man-made version of human erythropoietin (EPO). EPO is produced naturally in the body, mostly by the kidneys. It stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. If the body does not produce enough EPO, severe anemia can occur.

What type of drug is Aranesp? ›

Aranesp is the trade name for darbepoetin alfa. In some cases, health care professionals may use the trade name aranesp when referring to the generic drug name darbepoetin alfa. Drug Type: Darbepoetin alfa is a biologic response modifier. It is an erythropoiesis stimulating protein.

What class of drug is Aranesp? ›

Aranesp belongs to a group of drugs called erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs). These medications work by causing the soft tissue inside the bones where blood cells are made (bone marrow) to make more red blood cells.

Is erythropoietin a chemotherapy? ›

Human recombinant erythropoietin (rhEpo) has been used for many years to treat chemotherapy and cancer associated anemia. The application of rhEpo resulted in an improved quality of life of patients and in a sparing of blood transfusions (1).

What is considered a chemotherapy drug? ›

Corticosteroids, often simply called steroids, are natural hormones and hormone-like drugs that are useful in the treatment of many types of cancer, as well as other illnesses. When these drugs are used as part of cancer treatment, they are considered chemotherapy drugs. Examples of corticosteroids include: Prednisone.

Why are chemo patients given erythropoietin? ›

Erythropoietin therapy also corrects or prevents anemia in patients with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy and has the potential to improve QOL for patients with baseline hemoglobin levels of less than 10 g/dL.

Why are patients receiving chemotherapy often given erythropoietin? ›

Erythropoietin can be effective by counteracting two of the main causes of anemia in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy: 1. Myelosuppression induced by chemotherapy. Almost all cytotoxic drugs induce this effect.

What are the disadvantages of erythropoietin? ›

Blood clot risk

Cancer and some cancer treatments can increase the risk of a blood clot. Erythropoietin can also increase the risk of developing a blood clot. Symptoms of a blood clot include: throbbing pain, redness or swelling in a leg or arm.

What is the hardest chemotherapy regimen? ›

Doxorubicin is considered one of the strongest chemotherapy drugs for breast cancer ever invented. It can kill cancer cells at every point in their life cycle, and it's used to treat a wide variety of cancers, not just breast cancer. Doxorubicin is also known as “The Red Devil” because it is a clear bright red color.

What is the most used chemotherapy drug? ›

Doctors typically combine several drugs, including:
  • cyclophosphamide.
  • chlorambucil.
  • bendamustine.
  • ifosfamide.
  • prednisone.
  • dexamethasone.
  • cisplatin.
  • carboplatin.
Oct 28, 2021

How long can you be on chemotherapy drugs? ›

A course of chemotherapy usually takes between 3 to 6 months, although it can be more or less than that. The treatment will include one or more chemotherapy drugs. You may have the chemotherapy into a vein (intravenous drugs), or as tablets or capsules.

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