Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa)
General information on Aranesp
Aranesp, with active ingredient darbepoetin alfa, belongs to a class of drugs known as erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs). The drug is used for treating anemia caused due to kidney failure or chemotherapy treatment. The drug is a man made form of erythropoietin. Erythropoietin is a protein naturally found in the body which is responsible for the production of red blood cells. The drug works by artificially increasing the production of erythropoietin in the body, thus stimulating the production of red blood cells and hence, treating anemia. However, the drug is not used for treating anemia caused by other factors such as cancer of the bone marrow or deficiency of iron.
Precautions/side effects of Aranesp
Aranesp has the active ingredient darbepoetin alfa. People allergic to darbepoetin alfa should refrain from taking this drug. Other than that, people with pre red blood cell aplasia should also refrain from using this drug. Patients with high blood pressure, clotting disorder, latex allergy, kidney disease or diseases of the heart should take this drug only after due consultation with a doctor.
Aranesp is a category C pregnancy drug. Thus, pregnant women as well as women who are breastfeeding should refrain from using this drug as it may have adverse effect on the fetus as well as the newborn child. Other than that, Aranesp is known to react with certain drugs such as calcitriol, omega 3 fish oil tablets, lisinopril, Vitamin D2 supplements, Vitamin B12 supplements etc. If the patient is on any of these drugs, Aranesp should be taken after due consultation with a qualified physician.
In some cases, Aranesp may have side effects such as pain in the abdomen, cough, redness of the skin or bruising at the site of the needle. However, in some cases serious side effects may show up to the drug such as flu like symptoms, pain in the chest, swelling of the arms or legs, unusual bleeding, high blood pressure, seizures etc. If any of these symptoms show up after taking the drug, a physician should be consulted immediately.
Important safety information
- The drug is known to increase the risk of heart diseases. Thus, it should be taken after due consultation with a doctor.
- Aranesp is also known to affect the survival period in cancer patients.
- Alcohol should be consumed in moderation, if at all, while on this drug.
- A good diet should be maintained while on Aranesp to avoid complications.
- The physician should be informed about the use of this drug prior to a surgery.
Aranesp is available in single dose vials of 25 mcg/1ml, 40mcg/1ml, 60 mcg/1ml, 100 mcg/1ml, 200 mcg/1ml, 300 mcg/1 ml, 500 mcg/1ml and 150 mcg/0.75 ml. The drug is injected in the vein. The drug should be taken in the prescribed dose only and as suggested by the physician.
The dose should not be administered by self if the proper procedure of administering the injection is not known. It should not be taken in conjunction with other drugs. While self administering the IV, disposal syringes should be used, which should be disposed off after use. The syringe should be filled with the drug only at the time of taking it. The vial should not be shaken before use as it may harm the consistency of the drug.
While on Aranesp, the blood pressure is monitored regularly to look for any anomalies. A complete blood count test is also done regularly to track the count of red blood cells and white blood cells in the body.
The drug should be stored in the refrigerator. It should not be frozen. Once frozen, the drug should be thrown away. It should not be used in case some particles are seen in the vial.