What is PROCRIT®? And how does it work?
PROCRIT® is a prescription medicine used to treat certain kinds of anemia. People
with anemia have a
lower-than-normal number of red blood cells (RBCs). PROCRIT® is a man-made form of the human
protein called erythropoietin (EPO). It helps your bone marrow make more RBCs. This raises your level
of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells, which carries oxygen to all parts of the body.
PROCRIT® is used to reduce or avoid the need for RBC transfusions.
The rise in hemoglobin does not happen right away. It may take 2 to 6 weeks before the
of red blood cells goes up in your body. Not everyone will have the same results with PROCRIT®.
What is the most important information I should know
PROCRIT® may cause serious side effects that can lead to death, including:
For people with cancer:
- Your tumor may grow faster and you may die sooner if you choose to take
healthcare provider will talk with you about these risks.
For all people who take PROCRIT®,
including people with cancer or chronic
- Serious heart problems, such as heart attack or heart failure, and
stroke. You may die sooner if
you are treated with PROCRIT® to increase red blood cells (RBCs) to near the same level found in
- Blood Clots. Blood clots may happen at any time while taking
PROCRIT®. If you are receiving
PROCRIT® for any reason and you are going to have surgery, talk to your healthcare provider about
whether or not you need to take a blood thinner to lessen the chance of blood clots during or
following surgery. Blood clots can form in blood vessels (veins), especially in your leg
(deep venous thrombosis or DVT). Pieces of a blood clot may travel to the lungs and block the
blood circulation in the lungs (pulmonary embolus).
- Call your healthcare provider or get medical help right away if you have any of these
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain in your legs, with or without swelling
- A cool or pale arm or leg
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or trouble understanding others’ speech
- Sudden numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of your body
- Sudden trouble seeing
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Loss of consciousness (fainting)
- Hemodialysis vascular access stops working
See What are the possible side effects of PROCRIT®? for more information.
If you decide to take PROCRIT®, your healthcare provider should prescribe the
smallest dose of
PROCRIT® that is necessary to reduce your chance of needing RBC transfusions.
Who should take PROCRIT®?
PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) may be used to treat anemia if it is caused by:
- Chronic kidney disease (you may or may not be on dialysis)
- Chemotherapy that will be used for at least 2 months after starting PROCRIT®
- A medicine called zidovudine (AZT) used to treat HIV infection
PROCRIT® may also be used to reduce the chance you will need red blood cell
transfusions if you are
scheduled for certain surgeries where a lot of blood loss is expected.
If your hemoglobin level stays too high or if your hemoglobin goes up too quickly, this may lead
serious health problems which may result in death. These serious health problems may happen if you
take PROCRIT®, even if you do not have an increase in your hemoglobin level.
PROCRIT® has not been proven to improve quality of life, fatigue, or well-being.
PROCRIT® should not be used for treatment of anemia:
- If you have cancer and you will not be receiving chemotherapy that may cause anemia
- If you have a cancer that has a high chance of being cured. Talk to your healthcare provider
the kind of cancer you have
- If your anemia caused by chemotherapy treatment can be managed by RBC transfusion
- In place of emergency treatment for anemia (RBC transfusions)
PROCRIT® should not be used to reduce the chance of red blood cell transfusions if:
- You are scheduled for surgery on your heart or blood vessels
- You are able and willing to donate blood prior to surgery
It is not known if PROCRIT® is safe and effective in treating anemia in children
less than 1 month old
who have chronic kidney disease and in children less than 5 years old who have anemia caused by
HIV=human immunodeficiency virus.
Who should not take PROCRIT®?
Do not take PROCRIT® if you:
- Have cancer and have not been counseled by your healthcare provider about treatment
- Have high blood pressure that is not controlled (uncontrolled hypertension)
- Have been told by your healthcare provider that you have or have ever had a type of anemia
Pure Red Cell Aplasia (PRCA) that starts after treatment with PROCRIT® or other erythropoietin
- Have had a serious allergic reaction to PROCRIT®
Do not give PROCRIT® from multiple-dose vials to:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
How should I take PROCRIT®?
If you or your caregiver has been trained to give PROCRIT® shots (injections) at home:
- Be sure that you read, understand, and follow the “INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE” that come
- Take PROCRIT® exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to. Do not change
the dose of
PROCRIT® unless told to do so by your healthcare provider
- Your healthcare provider will show you how much PROCRIT® to use, how to
inject it, how often it
should be injected, and how to safely throw away the used vials, syringes, and needles
- If you miss a dose of PROCRIT®, call your healthcare provider right away and ask what to do
- If you take more than the prescribed dose of PROCRIT®, call your healthcare
provider right away
and ask what to do
During treatment with PROCRIT®, continue to follow your healthcare provider’s
instructions for diet
Have your blood pressure checked as instructed by your healthcare provider.