Epoetin Alfa (Procrit)
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Epoetin Alfa (Procrit)

PROCRIT®
(epoetin alfa) For Injection

WARNINGS: INCREASED MORTALITY, SERIOUS CARDIOVASCULAR EVENTS, THROMBOEMBOLIC EVENTS, STROKE and INCREASED RISK OF TUMOR PROGRESSION OR RECURRENCE

Chronic Renal Failure:

  • In clinical studies, patients experienced greater risks for death, serious cardiovascular events, and stroke when administered erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) to target hemoglobin levels of 13 g/dL and above.
  • Individualize dosing to achieve and maintain hemoglobin levels within the range of 10 to 12 g/dL.

Cancer:

  • ESAs shortened overall survival and/or increased the risk of tumor progression or recurrence in some clinical studies in patients with breast, non-small cell lung, head and neck, lymphoid, and cervical cancers (see WARNINGS: Table 1).
  • To decrease these risks, as well as the risk of serious cardio- and thrombovascular events, use the lowest dose needed to avoid red blood cell transfusion.
  • Because of these risks, prescribers and hospitals must enroll in and comply with the ESA APPRISE Oncology Program to prescribe and/or dispense PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) to patients with cancer. To enroll in the ESA APPRISE Oncology Program, visit www.esa-apprise.com or call 1-866-284-8089 for further assistance.
  • Use ESAs only for treatment of anemia due to concomitant myelosuppressive chemotherapy.
  • ESAs are not indicated for patients receiving myelosuppressive therapy when the anticipated outcome is cure.
  • Discontinue following the completion of a chemotherapy course.

Perisurgery: PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) increased the rate of deep venous thromboses in patients not receiving prophylactic anticoagulation. Consider deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis.

(See WARNINGS: Increased Mortality, Serious Cardiovascular Events, Thromboembolic Events, and Stroke, WARNINGS: Increased Mortality and/or Increased Risk of Tumor Progression or Recurrence, INDICATIONS AND USAGE, and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.)

DRUG DESCRIPTION

Erythropoietin is a glycoprotein which stimulates red blood cell production. It is produced in the kidney and stimulates the division and differentiation of committed erythroid progenitors in the bone marrow. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) (Epoetin alfa), a 165 amino acid glycoprotein manufactured by recombinant DNA technology, has the same biological effects as endogenous erythropoietin.1 It has a molecular weight of 30,400 daltons and is produced by mammalian cells into which the human erythropoietin gene has been introduced. The product contains the identical amino acid sequence of isolated natural erythropoietin.

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is formulated as a sterile, colorless liquid in an isotonic sodium chloride/sodium citrate buffered solution or a sodium chloride/sodium phosphate buffered solution for intravenous (IV) or subcutaneous (SC) administration.

Single-dose, Preservative-free Vial: Each 1 mL of solution contains 2000, 3000, 4000 or 10,000 Units of Epoetin alfa, 2.5 mg Albumin (Human), 5.8 mg sodium citrate, 5.8 mg sodium chloride, and 0.06 mg citric acid in Water for Injection, USP (pH 6.9 ± 0.3). This formulation contains no preservative.

Single-dose, Preservative-free Vial: 1 mL (40,000 Units/mL). Each 1 mL of solution contains 40,000 Units of Epoetin alfa, 2.5 mg Albumin (Human), 1.2 mg sodium phosphate monobasic monohydrate, 1.8 mg sodium phosphate dibasic anhydrate, 0.7 mg sodium citrate, 5.8 mg sodium chloride, and 6.8 mcg citric acid in Water for Injection, USP (pH 6.9 ± 0.3). This formulation contains no preservative.

Multidose, Preserved Vial: 2 mL (20,000 Units, 10,000 Units/mL). Each 1 mL of solution contains 10,000 Units of Epoetin alfa, 2.5 mg Albumin (Human), 1.3 mg sodium citrate, 8.2 mg sodium chloride, 0.11 mg citric acid, and 1% benzyl alcohol as preservative in Water for Injection, USP (pH 6.1 ± 0.3).

Multidose, Preserved Vial: 1 mL (20,000 Units/mL). Each 1 mL of solution contains 20,000 Units of Epoetin alfa, 2.5 mg Albumin (Human), 1.3 mg sodium citrate, 8.2 mg sodium chloride, 0.11 mg citric acid, and 1% benzyl alcohol as preservative in Water for Injection, USP (pH 6.1 ± 0.3).

1. Egrie JC, Strickland TW, Lane J, et al. Characterization and Biological Effects of Recombinant Human Erythropoietin. Immunobiol. 1986;72:213-224.

What are the possible side effects of epoetin alfa (Epogen, Procrit)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Contact your doctor if you feel weak, lightheaded, or short of breath, or if your skin looks pale. These may be signs that your body has stopped responding to this medication.

Epoetin alfa can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke. This risk will increase the longer you use epoetin alfa. Seek emergency medical help if you have symptoms of...

Read All Potential Side Effects and See Pictures of Procrit »

What are the precautions when taking epoetin alfa (Procrit)?

Before using epoetin alfa, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other drugs that cause more red blood cells to be made (e.g., darbepoetin alfa); or to products containing human albumin; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

This medication should not be used if you have a certain medical condition. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: high blood pressure (treated/controlled), blood disorders (e.g., sickle cell anemia, white blood cell or...

Read All Potential Precautions of Procrit »

Last reviewed on RxList: 6/20/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

INDICATIONS

Treatment of Anemia of Chronic Renal Failure Patients

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is indicated for the treatment of anemia associated with CRF, including patients on dialysis and patients not on dialysis. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is indicated to elevate or maintain the red blood cell level (as manifested by the hematocrit or hemoglobin determinations) and to decrease the need for transfusions in these patients.

Non-dialysis patients with symptomatic anemia considered for therapy should have a hemoglobin less than 10 g/dL.

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is not intended for patients who require immediate correction of severe anemia. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) may obviate the need for maintenance transfusions but is not a substitute for emergency transfusion.

Prior to initiation of therapy, the patient's iron stores should be evaluated. Transferrin saturation should be at least 20% and ferritin at least 100 ng/mL. Blood pressure should be adequately controlled prior to initiation of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy, and must be closely monitored and controlled during therapy.

Treatment of Anemia in Zidovudine-treated HIV-infected Patients

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is indicated for the treatment of anemia related to therapy with zidovudine in HIV-infected patients. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is indicated to elevate or maintain the red blood cell level (as manifested by the hematocrit or hemoglobin determinations) and to decrease the need for transfusions in these patients. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is not indicated for the treatment of anemia in HIV-infected patients due to other factors such as iron or folate deficiencies, hemolysis, or gastrointestinal bleeding, which should be managed appropriately. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) use has not been demonstrated in controlled clinical trials to improve symptoms of anemia, quality of life, fatigue, or patient well-being.

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , at a dose of 100 Units/kg TIW, is effective in decreasing the transfusion requirement and increasing the red blood cell level of anemic, HIV-infected patients treated with zidovudine, when the endogenous serum erythropoietin level is ≤ 500 mUnits/mL and when patients are receiving a dose of zidovudine ≤ 4200 mg/week.

Treatment of Anemia in Cancer Patients on Chemotherapy

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is indicated for the treatment of anemia due to the effect of concomitantly administered chemotherapy based on studies that have shown a reduction in the need for RBC transfusions in patients with metastatic, non-myeloid malignancies receiving chemotherapy for a minimum of 2 months. Studies to determine whether PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) increases mortality or decreases progression-free/recurrence-free survival are ongoing.

  • PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is not indicated for use in patients receiving hormonal agents, therapeutic biologic products, or radiotherapy unless receiving concomitant myelosuppressive chemotherapy.
  • PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is not indicated for patients receiving myelosuppressive therapy when the anticipated outcome is cure due to the absence of studies that adequately characterize the impact of PROCRIT (epoetin alfa) ® on progression-free and overall survival (see WARNINGS: Increased Mortality and/or Increased Risk of Tumor Progression or Recurrence).
  • PROCRIT (epoetin alfa) ® is not indicated for the treatment of anemia in cancer patients due to other factors such as iron or folate deficiencies, hemolysis, or gastrointestinal bleeding (see PRECAUTIONS: Lack or Loss of Response).
  • PROCRIT (epoetin alfa) ® use has not been demonstrated in controlled clinical trials to improve symptoms of anemia, quality of life, fatigue, or patient well-being.

Reduction of Allogeneic Blood Transfusion in Surgery Patients

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is indicated for the treatment of anemic patients (hemoglobin > 10 to ≤ 13 g/dL) who are at high risk for perioperative blood loss from elective, noncardiac, nonvascular surgery to reduce the need for allogeneic blood transfusions.17-19 PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is not indicated for anemic patients who are willing to donate autologous blood (see BOXED WARNINGS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Clinical Experience: Response To PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa)

Chronic Renal Failure Patients

When dosed with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , patients responded with an increase in hematocrit.5 After 3 months on study, more than 95% of patients were transfusion-independent.

In the presence of adequate iron stores (see Iron Evaluation), the time to reach the target hematocrit is a function of the baseline hematocrit and the rate of hematocrit rise.

The rate of increase in hematocrit is dependent upon the dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) administered and individual patient variation. In clinical trials at starting doses of 50 to 150 Units/kg TIW, adult patients responded with an average rate of hematocrit rise of:

  Hematocrit Increase
Starting Dose
(TIW IV)
Points/Da V Points/2 Weeks
50 Units/kg 0.11 1.5
100 Units/kg 0.18 2.5
150 Units/kg 0.25 3.5

In a 26 week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 118 anemic dialysis patients with an average hemoglobin of approximately 7 g/dL were randomized to either PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) or placebo. By the end of the study, average hemoglobin increased to approximately 11 g/dL in the PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) -treated patients and remained unchanged in patients receiving placebo. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) -treated patients experienced improvements in exercise tolerance and patient-reported physical functioning at month 2 that was maintained throughout the study.

Adult Patients on Dialysis: Thirteen clinical studies were conducted, involving IV administration to a total of 1010 anemic patients on dialysis for 986 patient-years of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy. In the three largest of these clinical trials, the median maintenance dose necessary to maintain the hematocrit between 30% to 36% was approximately 75 Units/kg TIW. In the US multicenter phase 3 study, approximately 65% of the patients required doses of 100 Units/kg TIW, or less, to maintain their hematocrit at approximately 35%. Almost 10% of patients required a dose of 25 Units/kg, or less, and approximately 10% required a dose of more than 200 Units/kg TIW to maintain their hematocrit at this level.

A multicenter unit dose study was also conducted in 119 patients receiving peritoneal dialysis who self-administered PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) subcutaneously for approximately 109 patient-years of experience. Patients responded to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) administered SC in a manner similar to patients receiving IV administration.20

Pediatric Patients on Dialysis: One hundred twenty-eight children from 2 months to 19 years of age with CRF requiring dialysis were enrolled in 4 clinical studies of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) . The largest study was a placebo-controlled, randomized trial in 113 children with anemia (hematocrit ≤ 27%) undergoing peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis. The initial dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) was 50 Units/kg IV or SC TIW. The dose of study drug was titrated to achieve either a hematocrit of 30% to 36% or an absolute increase in hematocrit of 6 percentage points over baseline.

At the end of the initial 12 weeks, a statistically significant rise in mean hematocrit (9.4% vs 0.9%) was observed only in the PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) arm. The proportion of children achieving a hematocrit of 30%, or an increase in hematocrit of 6 percentage points over baseline, at any time during the first 12 weeks was higher in the PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) arm (96% vs 58%). Within 12 weeks of initiating PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy, 92.3% of the pediatric patients were transfusion-independent as compared to 65.4% who received placebo. Among patients who received 36 weeks of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , hemodialysis patients required a higher median maintenance dose (167 Units/kg/week [n = 28] vs 76 Units/kg/week [n = 36]) and took longer to achieve a hematocrit of 30% to 36% (median time to response 69 days vs 32 days) than patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis.

Patients With CRF Not Requiring Dialysis

Four clinical trials were conducted in patients with CRF not on dialysis involving 181 patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) for approximately 67 patient-years of experience. These patients responded to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy in a manner similar to that observed in patients on dialysis. Patients with CRF not on dialysis demonstrated a dose-dependent and sustained increase in hematocrit when PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) was administered by either an IV or SC route, with similar rates of rise of hematocrit when PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) was administered by either route. Moreover, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) doses of 75 to 150 Units/kg per week have been shown to maintain hematocrits of 36% to 38% for up to 6 months.21-22

Zidovudine-treated HIV-infected Patients

Efficacy in HIV-infected patients with anemia related to therapy with zidovudine was demonstrated based on reduction in the requirement for RBC transfusions.

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) has been studied in four placebo-controlled trials enrolling 297 anemic (hematocrit < 30%) HIV-infected (AIDS) patients receiving concomitant therapy with zidovudine (all patients were treated with Epoetin alfa manufactured by Amgen Inc). In the subgroup of patients (89/125 PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) and 88/130 placebo) with prestudy endogenous serum erythropoietin levels ≤ 500 mUnits/mL, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) reduced the mean cumulative number of units of blood transfused per patient by approximately 40% as compared to the placebo group.24 Among those patients who required transfusions at baseline, 43% of patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) versus 18% of placebo-treated patients were transfusion-independent during the second and third months of therapy. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy also resulted in significant increases in hematocrit in comparison to placebo. When examining the results according to the weekly dose of zidovudine received during month 3 of therapy, there was a statistically significant (p < 0.003) reduction in transfusion requirements in patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) (n = 51) compared to placebo treated patients (n = 54) whose mean weekly zidovudine dose was ≤ 4200 mg/week.23

Approximately 17% of the patients with endogenous serum erythropoietin levels ≤ 500 mUnits/mL receiving PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) in doses from 100 to 200 Units/kg TIW achieved a hematocrit of 38% without administration of transfusions or significant reduction in zidovudine dose. In the subgroup of patients whose prestudy endogenous serum erythropoietin levels were > 500 mUnits/mL, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy did not reduce transfusion requirements or increase hematocrit, compared to the corresponding responses in placebo-treated patients.

In a 6 month open-label PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) study, patients responded with decreased transfusion requirements and sustained increases in hematocrit and hemoglobin with doses of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) up to 300 Units/kg TIW.23-25

Responsiveness to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy may be blunted by intercurrent infectious/inflammatory episodes and by an increase in zidovudine dosage. Consequently, the dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) must be titrated based on these factors to maintain the desired erythropoietic response.

Cancer Patients on Chemotherapy

Adult Patients

Efficacy in patients with anemia due to concomitant chemotherapy was demonstrated based on reduction in the requirement for RBC transfusions.

Three-Times Weekly (TIW) Dosing

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) administered TIW has been studied in a series of six placebo-controlled, double-blind trials that enrolled 131 anemic cancer patients receiving PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) or matching placebo. Across all studies, 72 patients were treated with concomitant non cisplatin-containing chemotherapy regimens and 59 patients were treated with concomitant cisplatin-containing chemotherapy regimens. Patients were randomized to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) 150 Units/kg or placebo subcutaneously TIW for 12 weeks in each study.

The results of the pooled data from these six studies are shown in the table below. Because of the length of time required for erythropoiesis and red cell maturation, the efficacy of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) (reduction in proportion of patients requiring transfusions) is not manifested until 2 to 6 weeks after initiation of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) .

Proportion of Patients Transfused During Chemotherapy (Efficacy Populationa)

Chemotherapy Regimen On Studyb During Months 2 and 3c
PROCRIT® Placebo PROCRIT® Placebo
Regimens without cisplatin 44% (15/34) 44% (16/36) 21% (6/29) 33% (11/33)
Regimens containing cisplatin 50% (14/28) 63% (19/30) 23% (5/22)d 56% (14/25)
Combined 47% (29/62) 53% (35/66) 22% (11/51)d 43% (25/58)
a Limited to patients remaining on study at least 15 days (1 patient excluded from PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , 2 patients excluded from placebo).
b Includes all transfusions from day 1 through the end of study.
c Limited to patients remaining on study beyond week 6 and includes only transfusions during weeks 5-12.
d Unadjusted 2-sided p < 0.05

Intensity of chemotherapy in the above trials was not directly assessed, however the degree and timing of neutropenia was comparable across all trials. Available evidence suggests that patients with lymphoid and solid cancers respond similarly to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy, and that patients with or without tumor infiltration of the bone marrow respond similarly to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy.

Weekly (QW) Dosing

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) was also studied in a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial utilizing weekly dosing in a total of 344 anemic cancer patients. In this trial, 61 (35 placebo arm and 26 in the PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) arm) patients were treated with concomitant cisplatin containing regimens and 283 patients received concomitant chemotherapy regimens that did not contain cisplatinum. Patients were randomized to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) 40,000 Units weekly (n = 174) or placebo (n = 170) SC for a planned treatment period of 16 weeks. If hemoglobin had not increased by > 1 g/dL after 4 weeks of therapy or the patient received RBC transfusion during the first 4 weeks of therapy, study drug was increased to 60,000 Units weekly. Forty-three percent of patients in the Epoetin alfa group required an increase in PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) dose to 60,000 Units weekly.23

Results demonstrated that PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy reduced the proportion of patients transfused in day 29 through week 16 of the study as compared to placebo. Twenty-five patients (14%) in the PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) group received transfusions compared to 48 patients (28%) in the placebo group (p = 0.0010) between day 29 and week 16 or the last day on study.

Comparable intensity of chemotherapy for patients enrolled in the two study arms was suggested by similarities in mean dose and frequency of administration for the 10 most commonly administered chemotherapy agents, and similarity in the incidence of changes in chemotherapy during the trial in the two arms.

Pediatric Patients

The safety and effectiveness of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) were evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study in anemic patients ages 5 to 18 receiving chemotherapy for the treatment of various childhood malignancies. Two hundred twenty-two patients were randomized (1:1) to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) or placebo. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) was administered at 600 Units/kg (maximum 40,000 Units) intravenously once per week for 16 weeks. If hemoglobin had not increased by 1g/dL after the first 4-5 weeks of therapy, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) was increased to 900 Units/kg (maximum 60,000 Units). Among the PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) -treated patients 60% required dose escalation to 900 Units/kg/week.

The effect of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) on transfusion requirements is shown in the table below:

Percentage of Patients Transfused:
On Studya After 28 Days Post-Randomization
PROCRIT®
(n=111)
Placebo
(n=111)
PROCRIT®
(n= 111)
Placebo
(n=111)
65% (72)
77% (86) 51%(57)b 69% (77)
a Includes all transfusions from day 1 through the end of study
b Adjusted 2 sided p < 0.05

There was no evidence of an improvement in health-related quality of life, including no evidence of an effect on fatigue, energy or strength, in patients receiving PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) as compared to those receiving placebo.

Surgery Patients

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) has been studied in a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial enrolling 316 patients scheduled for major, elective orthopedic hip or knee surgery who were expected to require ≥ 2 units of blood and who were not able or willing to participate in an autologous blood donation program. Based on previous studies which demonstrated that pretreatment hemoglobin is a predictor of risk of receiving transfusion,19,26 patients were stratified into one of three groups based on their pretreatment hemoglobin [ ≤ 10 (n = 2), > 10 to ≤ 13 (n = 96), and > 13 to ≤ 15 g/dL (n = 218)] and then randomly assigned to receive 300 Units/kg PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , 100 Units/kg PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) or placebo by SC injection for 10 days before surgery, on the day of surgery, and for 4 days after surgery.17 All patients received oral iron and a low-dose post-operative warfarin regimen.17

Treatment with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) 300 Units/kg significantly (p = 0.024) reduced the risk of allogeneic transfusion in patients with a pretreatment hemoglobin of > 10 to ≤ 13; 5/31 (16%) of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) 300 Units/kg, 6/26 (23%) of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) 100 Units/kg, and 13/29 (45%) of placebo-treated patients were transfused.17 There was no significant difference in the number of patients transfused between PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) (9% 300 Units/kg, 6% 100 Units/kg) and placebo (13%) in the > 13 to ≤ 15 g/dL hemoglobin stratum. There were too few patients in the ≤ 10 g/dL group to determine if PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is useful in this hemoglobin strata. In the > 10 to ≤ 13 g/dL pretreatment stratum, the mean number of units transfused per PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) -treated patient (0.45 units blood for 300 Units/kg, 0.42 units blood for 100 Units/kg) was less than the mean transfused per placebo-treated patient (1.14 units) (overall p = 0.028). In addition, mean hemoglobin, hematocrit, and reticulocyte counts increased significantly during the presurgery period in patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) .17

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) was also studied in an open-label, parallel-group trial enrolling 145 subjects with a pretreatment hemoglobin level of ≥ 10 to ≤ 13 g/dL who were scheduled for major orthopedic hip or knee surgery and who were not participating in an autologous program.18 Subjects were randomly assigned to receive one of two SC dosing regimens of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) (600 Units/kg once weekly for 3 weeks prior to surgery and on the day of surgery, or 300 Units/kg once daily for 10 days prior to surgery, on the day of surgery and for 4 days after surgery). All subjects received oral iron and appropriate pharmacologic anticoagulation therapy.

From pretreatment to presurgery, the mean increase in hemoglobin in the 600 Units/kg weekly group (1.44 g/dL) was greater than observed in the 300 Units/kg daily group.18 The mean increase in absolute reticulocyte count was smaller in the weekly group (0.11 x 106/mm3) compared to the daily group (0.17 x 106/mm3). Mean hemoglobin levels were similar for the two treatment groups throughout the postsurgical period.

The erythropoietic response observed in both treatment groups resulted in similar transfusion rates [11/69 (16%) in the 600 Units/kg weekly group and 14/71 (20%) in the 300 Units/kg daily group].18 The mean number of units transfused per subject was approximately 0.3 units in both treatment groups.

DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

IMPORTANT: See BOXED WARNINGS and WARNINGS: Increased Mortality, Serious Cardiovascular Events, Thromboembolic Events, and Stroke.

Chronic Renal Failure Patients

The recommended range for the starting dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is 50 to 100 Units/kg TIW for adult patients. The recommended starting dose for pediatric CRF patients on dialysis is 50 Units/kg TIW. Individualize dosing to achieve and maintain hemoglobin levels between 10-12 g/dL. The dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should be reduced as the hemoglobin approaches 12 g/dL or increases by more than 1 g/dL in any 2-week period. If hemoglobin excursions outside the recommended range occur, the PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) dose should be adjusted as described below.

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) may be given either as an IV or SC injection. In patients on hemodialysis, the IV route is recommended (see WARNINGS: Pure Red Cell Aplasia). While the administration of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is independent of the dialysis procedure, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) may be administered into the venous line at the end of the dialysis procedure to obviate the need for additional venous access. In adult patients with CRF not on dialysis, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) may be given either as an IV or SC injection.

Patients who have been judged competent by their physicians to self-administer PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) without medical or other supervision may give themselves either an IV or SC injection. The table below provides general therapeutic guidelines for patients with CRF:

Individually titrate to achieve and maintain hemoglobin levels between 10 to 12 g/dL.

Starting Dose:

Adults
Pediatric Patients
50 to 100 Units/kg TIW; IV or SC
50 Units/kg TIW; IV or SC
Increase Dose by 25% If:
  1. Hemoglobin is < 10 g/dL and has not increased by 1 g/dL after 4 weeks of therapy or
  2. Hemoglobin decreases below 10 g/dL
Reduce Dose by 25% When:
  1. Hemoglobin approaches 12 g/dL or,
  2. Hemoglobin increases > 1 g/dL in any 2-week period

During therapy, hematological parameters should be monitored regularly. Doses must be individualized to ensure that hemoglobin is maintained at an appropriate level for each patient.

For patients whose hemoglobin does not attain a level within the range of 10 to 12 g/dL despite the use of appropriate PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) dose titrations over a 12-week period:

  • do not administer higher PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) doses and use the lowest dose that will maintain a hemoglobin level sufficient to avoid the need for recurrent RBC transfusions,
  • evaluate and treat for other causes of anemia (see PRECAUTIONS: Lack or Loss of Response), and
  • thereafter, hemoglobin should continue to be monitored and if responsiveness improves, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) dose adjustments should be made as described above; discontinue PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) if responsiveness does not improve and the patient needs recurrent RBC transfusions.

Pretherapy Iron Evaluation: Prior to and during PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy, the patient's iron stores, including transferrin saturation (serum iron divided by iron binding capacity) and serum ferritin, should be evaluated. Transferrin saturation should be at least 20%, and ferritin should be at least 100 ng/mL. Virtually all patients will eventually require supplemental iron to increase or maintain transferrin saturation to levels that will adequately support erythropoiesis stimulated by PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) .

Dose Adjustment: The dose should be adjusted for each patient to achieve and maintain hemoglobin levels between 10 to 12 g/dL.

Increases in dose should not be made more frequently than once a month. If the hemoglobin is increasing and approaching 12 g/dL, the dose should be reduced by approximately 25%. If the hemoglobin continues to increase, dose should be temporarily withheld until the hemoglobin begins to decrease, at which point therapy should be reinitiated at a dose approximately 25% below the previous dose. If the hemoglobin increases by more than 1 g/dL in a 2-week period, the dose should be decreased by approximately 25%.

If the increase in the hemoglobin is less than 1 g/dL over 4 weeks and iron stores are adequate (see PRECAUTIONS: Laboratory Monitoring), the dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) may be increased by approximately 25% of the previous dose. Further increases may be made at 4-week intervals until the specified hemoglobin is obtained.

Maintenance Dose: The maintenance dose must be individualized for each patient on dialysis. In the US phase 3 multicenter trial in patients on hemodialysis, the median maintenance dose was 75 Units/kg TIW, with a range from 12.5 to 525 Units/kg TIW. Almost 10% of the patients required a dose of 25 Units/kg, or less, and approximately 10% of the patients required more than 200 Units/kg TIW to maintain their hematocrit in the suggested target range. In pediatric hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients, the median maintenance dose was 167 Units/kg/week (49 to 447 Units/kg per week) and 76 Units/kg per week (24 to 323 Units/kg/week) administered in divided doses (TIW or BIW), respectively to achieve the target range of 30% to 36%.

If the transferrin saturation is greater than 20%, the dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) may be increased. Such dose increases should not be made more frequently than once a month, unless clinically indicated, as the response time of the hemoglobin to a dose increase can be 2 to 6 weeks. Hemoglobin should be measured twice weekly for 2 to 6 weeks following dose increases. In adult patients with CRF not on dialysis, the dose should also be individualized to maintain hemoglobin levels between 10 to 12 g/dL. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) doses of 75 to 150 Units/kg/week have been shown to maintain hematocrits of 36% to 38% for up to 6 months.

Lack or Loss of Response: If a patient fails to respond or maintain a response, an evaluation for causative factors should be undertaken (see WARNINGS: Pure Red Cell Aplasia, PRECAUTIONS: Lack or Loss of Response, and PRECAUTIONS: Iron Evaluation). If the transferrin saturation is less than 20%, supplemental iron should be administered.

Zidovudine-treated HIV-infected Patients

Prior to beginning PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , it is recommended that the endogenous serum erythropoietin level be determined (prior to transfusion). Available evidence suggests that patients receiving zidovudine with endogenous serum erythropoietin levels > 500 mUnits/mL are unlikely to respond to therapy with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) .

In zidovudine-treated HIV-infected patients the dosage of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should be titrated for each patient to achieve and maintain the lowest hemoglobin level sufficient to avoid the need for blood transfusion and not to exceed the upper safety limit of 12 g/dL.

Starting Dose: For adult patients with serum erythropoietin levels ≤ 500 mUnits/mL who are receiving a dose of zidovudine ≤ 4200 mg/week, the recommended starting dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is 100 Units/kg as an IV or SC injection TIW for 8 weeks. For pediatric patients, see PRECAUTIONS: Pediatric Use.

Increase Dose: During the dose adjustment phase of therapy, the hemoglobin should be monitored weekly. If the response is not satisfactory in terms of reducing transfusion requirements or increasing hemoglobin after 8 weeks of therapy, the dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) can be increased by 50 to 100 Units/kg TIW. Response should be evaluated every 4 to 8 weeks thereafter and the dose adjusted accordingly by 50 to 100 Units/kg increments TIW. If patients have not responded satisfactorily to a PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) dose of 300 Units/kg TIW, it is unlikely that they will respond to higher doses of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) .

Maintenance Dose: After attainment of the desired response (ie, reduced transfusion requirements or increased hemoglobin), the dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should be titrated to maintain the response based on factors such as variations in zidovudine dose and the presence of intercurrent infectious or inflammatory episodes. If the hemoglobin exceeds the upper safety limit of 12 g/dL, the dose should be discontinued until the hemoglobin drops below 11 g/dL. The dose should be reduced by 25% when treatment is resumed and then titrated to maintain the desired hemoglobin.

Cancer Patients on Chemotherapy

Only prescribers enrolled in the ESA APPRISE Oncology Program may prescribe and/or dispense PROCRIT® (see WARNINGS: ESA APPRISE Oncology Program).

Although no specific serum erythropoietin level has been established which predicts which patients would be unlikely to respond to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy, treatment of patients with grossly elevated serum erythropoietin levels (eg, > 200 mUnits/mL) is not recommended. Therapy should not be initiated at hemoglobin levels ≥ 10 g/dL. The hemoglobin should be monitored on a weekly basis in patients receiving PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy until hemoglobin becomes stable. The dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should be titrated for each patient to achieve and maintain the lowest hemoglobin level sufficient to avoid the need for blood transfusion (see recommended Dose Modifications, below).

Recommended Dose: The initial recommended dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) in adults is 150 Units/kg SC TIW or 40,000 Units SC Weekly. The initial recommended dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) in pediatric patients is 600 Units/kg IV weekly. Discontinue PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) following the completion of a chemotherapy course (see BOXED WARNINGS: Cancer).

Dose Modification

TIW Dosing
Starting Dose:

Adults
Reduce Dose by 25% when:
150 Units/kg SC
TIW Hemoglobin reaches a level needed to avoid transfusion orincreases > 1 g/dL in any 2-week period.
Withhold Dose if: Hemoglobin exceeds a level needed to avoid transfusion. Restart at 25% below the previous dose when the hemoglobin approaches a level where transfusions may be required.
Increase Dose to 300 Units/kg TIW if: Response is not satisfactory (no reduction in transfusion requirements or rise in hemoglobin) after 4 weeks to achieve and maintain the lowest hemoglobin level sufficient to avoid the need for RBC transfusion.
Discontinue: If after 8 weeks of therapy there is no response as measured by hemoglobin levels or if transfusions are still required.
Weekly Dosing
Starting Dose:
Adults 40,000 Units SC
Pediatrics 600 Units/kg IV (maximum 40,000 Units)
Reduce Dose by 25% when: Hemoglobin reaches a level needed to avoid transfusion or increases > 1 g/dL in any 2-weeks.
Withhold Dose if: Hemoglobin exceeds a level needed to avoid transfusion and restart at 25% below the previous dose when the hemoglobin approaches a level where transfusions may be required.
Increase Dose if:
For Adults: 60,000 Units SCWeekly
For Pediatrics: 900 Units/kg IV (maximum 60,000 Units) if:
Response is not satisfactory (no increase in hemoglobin by ≥ 1 g/dL after 4 weeks of therapy, in the absence of a RBC transfusion) to achieve and maintain the lowest hemoglobin level sufficient to avoid the need for RBC transfusion.
Discontinue: If after 8 weeks of therapy there is no response as measured by hemoglobin levels or if transfusions are still required.

Surgery Patients

Prior to initiating treatment with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) a hemoglobin should be obtained to establish that it is > 10 to ≤ 13 g/dL.17 The recommended dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is 300 Units/kg/day subcutaneously for 10 days before surgery, on the day of surgery, and for 4 days after surgery.

An alternate dose schedule is 600 Units/kg PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) subcutaneously in once weekly doses (21, 14, and 7 days before surgery) plus a fourth dose on the day of surgery.18

All patients should receive adequate iron supplementation. Iron supplementation should be initiated no later than the beginning of treatment with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) and should continue throughout the course of therapy. Deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis should be strongly considered (see BOXED WARNINGS).

Preparation And Administration Of Procrit® (epoetin alfa)

  1. Do not shake. It is not necessary to shake PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) . Prolonged vigorous shaking may denature any glycoprotein, rendering it biologically inactive.
  2. Protect the solution from light. Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration. Do not use any vials exhibiting particulate matter or discoloration.
  3. Using aseptic techniques, attach a sterile needle to a sterile syringe. Remove the flip top from the vial containing PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , and wipe the septum with a disinfectant. Insert the needle into the vial, and withdraw into the syringe an appropriate volume of solution.
  4. Single-dose: 1 mL vial contains no preservative. Use one dose per vial; do not re-enter the vial. Discard unused portions.
    Multidose:
    1 mL and 2 mL vials contain preservative. Store at 2° to 8° C after initial entry and between doses. Discard 21 days after initial entry.
  5. Do not dilute or administer in conjunction with other drug solutions. However, at the time of SC administration, preservative-free PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) from single-use vials may be admixed in a syringe with bacteriostatic 0.9% sodium chloride injection, USP, with benzyl alcohol 0.9% (bacteriostatic saline) at a 1:1 ratio using aseptic technique. The benzyl alcohol in the bacteriostatic saline acts as a local anesthetic which may ameliorate SC injection site discomfort. Admixing is not necessary when using the multidose vials of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) containing benzyl alcohol.

HOW SUPPLIED

PROCRIT®, containing Epoetin alfa, is available in the following packages: 1 mL Single-Dose, Preservative-free Solution

Cartons containing six (6) single-dose vials:

2000 Units/mL (NDC 59676-302-01)
3000 Units/mL (NDC 59676-303-01)
4000 Units/mL (NDC 59676-304-01)
10,000 Units/mL (NDC 59676-310-01)

Cartons containing four (4) single-dose vials:

40,000 Units/mL (NDC 59676-340-01)

Trays containing twenty-five (25) single-dose vials:

2000 Units/mL (NDC 59676-302-02)
3000 Units/mL (NDC 59676-303-02)
4000 Units/mL (NDC 59676-304-02)
10,000 Units/mL (NDC 59676-310-02)

2 mL Multidose, Preserved Solution

Cartons containing four (4) multidose vials:

10,000 Units/mL (NDC 59676-312-04)

Cartons containing six (6) multidose vials:

10,000 Units/mL (NDC 59676-312-01)

1 mL Multidose, Preserved Solution

Cartons containing four (4) multidose vials: 20,000 Units/mL (NDC 59676-320-04)

Cartons containing six (6) multidose vials: 20,000 Units/mL (NDC 59676-320-01)

Storage

Store at 2° to 8° C (36° to 46° F). Do not freeze or shake. Protect from light.

REFERENCES

5. Eschbach JW, Abdulhadi MH, Browne JK, et al. Recombinant Human Erythropoietin in Anemic Patients with End-Stage Renal Disease. Ann Intern Med. 1989;111:992-1000.

17. deAndrade JR and Jove M. Baseline Hemoglobin as a Predictor of Risk of Transfusion and Response to Epoetin alfa in Orthopedic Surgery Patients. Am. J. of Orthoped. 1996;25 (8):533-542.

18. Goldberg MA and McCutchen JW. A Safety and Efficacy Comparison Study of Two Dosing Regimens of Epoetin alfa in Patients Undergoing Major Orthopedic Surgery. Am. J. of Orthoped. 1996;25 (8):544-552.

19. Faris PM and Ritter MA. The Effects of Recombinant Human Erythropoietin on Perioperative Transfusion Requirements in Patients Having a Major Orthopedic Operation. J. Bone and Joint Surgery. 1996;78-A:62-72.

20. Amgen Inc., data on file.

21. Eschbach JW, Kelly MR, Haley NR, et al. Treatment of the Anemia of Progressive Renal Failure with Recombinant Human Erythropoietin. NEJM. 1989;321:158-163.

22. The US Recombinant Human Erythropoietin Predialysis Study Group. Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of the Therapeutic Use of Recombinant Human Erythropoietin for Anemia Associated with Chronic Renal Failure in Predialysis Patients. Am J Kid Dis. 1991;18:50-59.

23. Ortho Biologics, Inc., data on file.

24. Danna RP, Rudnick SA, Abels RI. Erythropoietin Therapy for the Anemia Associated with AIDS and AIDS Therapy and Cancer. In: MB Garnick, ed. Erythropoietin in Clinical Applications - An International Perspective. New York, NY: Marcel Dekker; 1990:301-324.

25. Fischl M, Galpin JE, Levine JD, et al. Recombinant Human Erythropoietin for Patients with AIDS Treated with Zidovudine. NEJM. 1990;322:1488-1493.

26. Laupacis A. Effectiveness of Perioperative Recombinant Human Erythropoietin in Elective Hip Replacement. Lancet. 1993;341:1228-1232.

Manufactured by: Amgen Inc. One Amgen Center Drive, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320-1799. Manufactured for: Centocor Ortho Biotech Products, L.P. Raritan, New Jersey 08869-0670.

Last reviewed on RxList: 6/20/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

SIDE EFFECTS

Immunogenicity

As with all therapeutic proteins, there is the potential for immunogenicity. Neutralizing antibodies to erythropoietin, in association with PRCA or severe anemia (with or without other cytopenias), have been reported in patients receiving PROCRIT® (see WARNINGS: Pure Red Cell Aplasia) during post-marketing experience.

There has been no systematic assessment of immune responses, i.e., the incidence of either binding or neutralizing antibodies to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , in controlled clinical trials.

Where reported, the incidence of antibody formation is highly dependent on the sensitivity and specificity of the assay. Additionally, the observed incidence of antibody (including neutralizing antibody) positivity in an assay may be influenced by several factors including assay methodology, sample handling, timing of sample collection, concomitant medications, and underlying disease. For these reasons, comparison of the incidence of antibodies across products within this class (erythropoietic proteins) may be misleading.

Chronic Renal Failure Patients

In double-blind, placebo-controlled studies involving over 300 patients with CRF, the events reported in greater than 5% of patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) during the blinded phase were:

Percent of Patients Reporting Event

Event Patients Treated With PROCRIT®
(n = 200)
Placebo-treated Patients
(n = 135)
Hypertension 24% 19%
Headache 16% 12%
Arthralgias 11% 6%
Nausea 11% 9%
Edema 9% 10%
Fatigue 9% 14%
Diarrhea 9% 6%
Vomiting 8% 5%
Chest Pain 7% 9%
Skin Reaction (Administration Site) 7% 12%
Asthenia 7% 12%
Dizziness 7% 13%
Clotted Access 7% 2%
Significant adverse events of concern in patients with CRF treated in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials occurred in the following percent of patients during the blinded phase of the studies:
Seizure 1.1% 1.1%
CVA/TIA 0.4% 0.6%
MI 0.4% 1.1%
Death 0% 1.7%

In the US PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) studies in adult patients on dialysis (over 567 patients), the incidence (number of events per patient-year) of the most frequently reported adverse events were: hypertension (0.75), headache (0.40), tachycardia (0.31), nausea/vomiting (0.26), clotted vascular access (0.25), shortness of breath (0.14), hyperkalemia (0.11), and diarrhea (0.11). Other reported events occurred at a rate of less than 0.10 events per patient per year.

Events reported to have occurred within several hours of administration of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) were rare, mild, and transient, and included injection site stinging in dialysis patients and flu-like symptoms such as arthralgias and myalgias.

In all studies analyzed to date, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) administration was generally well-tolerated, irrespective of the route of administration.

Pediatric CRF Patients: In pediatric patients with CRF on dialysis, the pattern of most adverse events was similar to that found in adults. Additional adverse events reported during the double-blind phase in > 10% of pediatric patients in either treatment group were: abdominal pain, dialysis access complications including access infections and peritonitis in those receiving peritoneal dialysis, fever, upper respiratory infection, cough, pharyngitis, and constipation. The rates are similar between the treatment groups for each event.

Hypertension: Increases in blood pressure have been reported in clinical trials, often during the first 90 days of therapy. On occasion, hypertensive encephalopathy and seizures have been observed in patients with CRF treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) . When data from all patients in the US phase 3 multicenter trial were analyzed, there was an apparent trend of more reports of hypertensive adverse events in patients on dialysis with a faster rate of rise of hematocrit (greater than 4 hematocrit points in any 2-week period). However, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, hypertensive adverse events were not reported at an increased rate in the group treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) (150 Units/kg TIW) relative to the placebo group.

Seizures: There have been 47 seizures in 1010 patients on dialysis treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) in clinical trials, with an exposure of 986 patient-years for a rate of approximately 0.048 events per patient-year. However, there appeared to be a higher rate of seizures during the first 90 days of therapy (occurring in approximately 2.5% of patients) when compared to subsequent 90-day periods. The baseline incidence of seizures in the untreated dialysis population is difficult to determine; it appears to be in the range of 5% to 10% per patient-year.34-36

Thrombotic Events: In clinical trials where the maintenance hematocrit was 35 ± 3% on PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , clotting of the vascular access (A-V shunt) has occurred at an annualized rate of about 0.25 events per patient-year, and other thrombotic events (eg, myocardial infarction, cerebral vascular accident, transient ischemic attack, and pulmonary embolism) occurred at a rate of 0.04 events per patient-year. In a separate study of 1111 untreated dialysis patients, clotting of the vascular access occurred at a rate of 0.50 events per patient-year. However, in CRF patients on hemodialysis who also had clinically evident ischemic heart disease or congestive heart failure, the risk of A-V shunt thrombosis was higher (39% vs 29%, p < 0.001), and myocardial infarctions, vascular ischemic events, and venous thrombosis were increased, in patients targeted to a hematocrit of 42 ± 3% compared to those maintained at 30 ± 3% (see WARNINGS).

In patients treated with commercial PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , there have been rare reports of serious or unusual thromboembolic events including migratory thrombophlebitis, microvascular thrombosis, pulmonary embolus, and thrombosis of the retinal artery, and temporal and renal veins. A causal relationship has not been established.

Allergic Reactions: There have been no reports of serious allergic reactions or anaphylaxis associated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) administration during clinical trials. Skin rashes and urticaria have been observed rarely and when reported have generally been mild and transient in nature.

There have been rare reports of potentially serious allergic reactions including urticaria with associated respiratory symptoms or circumoral edema, or urticaria alone. Most reactions occurred in situations where a causal relationship could not be established. Symptoms recurred with rechallenge in a few instances, suggesting that allergic reactivity may occasionally be associated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy. If an anaphylactoid reaction occurs, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should be immediately discontinued and appropriate therapy initiated.

Zidovudine-treated HIV-infected Patients

In double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of 3 months duration involving approximately 300 zidovudine-treated HIV-infected patients, adverse events with an incidence of ≥ 10% in either patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) or placebo-treated patients were:

Percent of Patients Reporting Event

Event Patients Treated With PROCRIT®
(n = 144)
Placebo-treated Patients
(n = 153)
Pyrexia 38% 29%
Fatigue 25% 31%
Headache 19% 14%
Cough 18% 14%
Diarrhea 16% 18%
Rash 16% 8%
Congestion, Respiratory 15% 10%
Nausea 15% 12%
Shortness of Breath 14% 13%
Asthenia 11% 14%
Skin Reaction, Medication Site 10% 7%
Dizziness 9% 10%

In the 297 patients studied, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) was not associated with significant increases in opportunistic infections or mortality.23 In 71 patients from this group treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) at 150 Units/kg TIW, serum p24 antigen levels did not appear to increase.25 Preliminary data showed no enhancement of HIV replication in infected cell lines in vitro.23

Peripheral white blood cell and platelet counts are unchanged following PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy.

Allergic Reactions: Two zidovudine-treated HIV-infected patients had urticarial reactions within 48 hours of their first exposure to study medication. One patient was treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) and one was treated with placebo (PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) vehicle alone). Both patients had positive immediate skin tests against their study medication with a negative saline control. The basis for this apparent pre-existing hypersensitivity to components of the PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) formulation is unknown, but may be related to HIV-induced immunosuppression or prior exposure to blood products.

Seizures: In double-blind and open-label trials of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) in zidovudine-treated HIV-infected patients, 10 patients have experienced seizures.23 In general, these seizures appear to be related to underlying pathology such as meningitis or cerebral neoplasms, not PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy.

Cancer Patients on Chemotherapy

In double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of up to 3 months duration involving 131 cancer patients, adverse events with an incidence > 10% in either patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) or placebo-treated patients were as indicated below:

Percent of Patients Reporting Event

Event Patients Treated With PROCRIT®
(n = 63)
Placebo-treated Patients
(n = 68)
Pyrexia 29% 19%
Diarrhea 21%* 7%
Nausea 17%* 32%
Vomiting 17% 15%
Edema 17%* 1%
Asthenia 13% 16%
Fatigue 13% 15%
Shortness of Breath 13% 9%
Parasthesia 11% 6%
Upper Respiratory Infection 11% 4%
Dizziness 5% 12%
Trunk Pain 3%* 16%
* Statistically significant

Although some statistically significant differences between patients being treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) and placebo-treated patients were noted, the overall safety profile of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) appeared to be consistent with the disease process of advanced cancer. During double-blind and subsequent open-label therapy in which patients (n = 72 for total exposure to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) ) were treated for up to 32 weeks with doses as high as 927 Units/kg, the adverse experience profile of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) was consistent with the progression of advanced cancer.

Three hundred thirty-three (333) cancer patients enrolled in a placebo-controlled double-blind trial utilizing Weekly dosing with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) for up to 4 months were evaluable for adverse events. The incidence of adverse events was similar in both the treatment and placebo arms.

Surgery Patients

Adverse events with an incidence of ≥ 10% are shown in the following table:

Percent of Patients Reporting Event

Event Patients Treated With PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) 300 U/kg
(n = 112)a
Patients Treated With PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) 100 U/kg
(n = 101)a
Placebo-treated Patients
(n = 103)a
Patients Treated With PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) 600 U/kg
(n = 73)b
Patients Treated With PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) 300 U/kg
(n = 72)b
Pyrexia 51% 50% 60% 47% 42%
Nausea 48% 43% 45% 45% 58%
Constipation 43% 42% 43% 51% 53%
Skin Reaction, Medication Site 25% 19% 22% 26% 29%
Vomiting 22% 12% 14% 21% 29%
Skin Pain 18% 18% 17% 5% 4%
Pruritus 16% 16% 14% 14% 22%
Insomnia 13% 16% 13% 21% 18%
Headache 13% 11% 9% 10% 19%
Dizziness 12% 9% 12% 11% 21%
Urinary Tract Infection 12% 3% 11% 11% 8%
Hypertension 10% 11% 10% 5% 10%
Diarrhea 10% 7% 12% 10% 6%
Deep Venous Thrombosis 10% 3% 5% 0%c 0%c
Dyspepsia 9% 11% 6% 7% 8%
Anxiety 7% 2% 11% 11% 4%
Edema 6% 11% 8% 11% 7%
a Study including patients undergoing orthopedic surgery treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) or placebo for 15 days
b Study including patients undergoing orthopedic surgery treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) 600 Units/kg weekly x 4 or 300 Units/kg daily x 15
c Determined by clinical symptoms

Thrombotic/Vascular Events: In three double-blind, placebo-controlled orthopedic surgery studies, the rate of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) was similar among Epoetin alfa and placebo-treated patients in the recommended population of patients with a pretreatment hemoglobin of > 10 g/dL to ≤ 13 g/dL.17,19,26 However, in 2 of 3 orthopedic surgery studies the overall rate (all pretreatment hemoglobin groups combined) of DVTs detected by postoperative ultrasonography and/or surveillance venography was higher in the group treated with Epoetin alfa than in the placebo-treated group (11% vs. 6%). This finding was attributable to the difference in DVT rates observed in the subgroup of patients with pretreatment hemoglobin > 13 g/dL.

In the orthopedic surgery study of patients with pretreatment hemoglobin of > 10 g/dL to ≤ 13 g/dL which compared two dosing regimens (600 Units/kg weekly x 4 and 300 Units/kg daily x 15), 4 subjects in the 600 Units/kg weekly PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) group (5%) and no subjects in the 300 Units/kg daily group had a thrombotic vascular event during the study period.18

In a study examining the use of Epoetin alfa in 182 patients scheduled for coronary artery bypass graft surgery, 23% of patients treated with Epoetin alfa and 29% treated with placebo experienced thrombotic/vascular events. There were 4 deaths among the Epoetin alfa-treated patients that were associated with a thrombotic/vascular event (see WARNINGS).

Read the Procrit (epoetin alfa) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects »

DRUG INTERACTIONS

No evidence of interaction of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) with other drugs was observed in the course of clinical trials.

REFERENCES

17. deAndrade JR and Jove M. Baseline Hemoglobin as a Predictor of Risk of Transfusion and Response to Epoetin alfa in Orthopedic Surgery Patients. Am. J. of Orthoped. 1996;25 (8):533-542.

18. Goldberg MA and McCutchen JW. A Safety and Efficacy Comparison Study of Two Dosing Regimens of Epoetin alfa in Patients Undergoing Major Orthopedic Surgery. Am. J. of Orthoped. 1996;25 (8):544-552.

19. Faris PM and Ritter MA. The Effects of Recombinant Human Erythropoietin on Perioperative Transfusion Requirements in Patients Having a Major Orthopedic Operation. J. Bone and Joint Surgery. 1996;78-A:62-72.

23. Ortho Biologics, Inc., data on file.

25. Fischl M, Galpin JE, Levine JD, et al. Recombinant Human Erythropoietin for Patients with AIDS Treated with Zidovudine. NEJM. 1990;322:1488-1493.

26. Laupacis A. Effectiveness of Perioperative Recombinant Human Erythropoietin in Elective Hip Replacement. Lancet. 1993;341:1228-1232.

34. Raskin NH, Fishman RA. Neurologic Disorders in Renal Failure (First of Two Parts). NEJM. 1976;294:143-148.

35. Raskin NH and Fishman RA. Neurologic Disorders in Renal Failure (Second of Two Parts). NEJM. 1976;294:204-210.

36. Messing RO, Simon RP. Seizures as a Manifestation of Systemic Disease. Neurologic Clinics. 1986;4:563-584.

Last reviewed on RxList: 6/20/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

WARNINGS

Pediatrics

Risk in Premature Infants

The multidose preserved formulation contains benzyl alcohol. Benzyl alcohol has been reported to be associated with an increased incidence of neurological and other complications in premature infants which are sometimes fatal.

Adults

Increased Mortality, Serious Cardiovascular Events, Thromboembolic Events, and Stroke

Patients with chronic renal failure experienced greater risks for death, serious cardiovascular events, and stroke when administered erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) to target hemoglobin levels of 13 g/dL and above in clinical studies. Patients with chronic renal failure and an insufficient hemoglobin response to ESA therapy may be at even greater risk for cardiovascular events and mortality than other patients. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) and other ESAs increased the risks for death and serious cardiovascular events in controlled clinical trials of patients with cancer. These events included myocardial infarction, stroke, congestive heart failure, and hemodialysis vascular access thrombosis. A rate of hemoglobin rise of > 1 g/dL over 2 weeks may contribute to these risks.

In a randomized prospective trial, 1432 anemic chronic renal failure patients who were not undergoing dialysis were assigned to Epoetin alfa (rHuEPO) treatment targeting a maintenance hemoglobin concentration of 13.5 g/dL or 11.3 g/dL. A major cardiovascular event (death, myocardial infarction, stroke, or hospitalization for congestive heart failure) occurred among 125 (18%) of the 715 patients in the higher hemoglobin group compared to 97 (14%) among the 717 patients in the lower hemoglobin group (HR 1.3, 95% CI: 1.0, 1.7, p = 0.03).40

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 4038 patients, there was an increased risk of stroke when darbepoetin alfa was administered to patients with anemia, type 2 diabetes, and CRF who were not on dialysis. Patients were randomized to darbepoetin alfa treatment targeted to a hemoglobin level of 13 g/dL or to placebo. Placebo patients received darbepoetin alfa only if their hemoglobin levels were less than 9 g/dL. A total of 101 patients receiving darbepoetin alfa experienced stroke compared to 53 patients receiving placebo (5% vs. 2.6%; HR 1.92, 95% CI: 1.38, 2.68; p < 0.001).

Increased risk for serious cardiovascular events was also reported from a randomized, prospective trial of 1265 hemodialysis patients with clinically evident cardiac disease (ischemic heart disease or congestive heart failure). In this trial, patients were assigned to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) treatment targeted to a maintenance hematocrit of either 42 ± 3% or 30 ± 3%.37 Increased mortality was observed in 634 patients randomized to a target hematocrit of 42% [221 deaths (35% mortality)] compared to 631 patients targeted to remain at a hematocrit of 30% [185 deaths (29% mortality)]. The reason for the increased mortality observed in this study is unknown, however, the incidence of non-fatal myocardial infarctions (3.1% vs. 2.3%), vascular access thromboses (39% vs. 29%), and all other thrombotic events (22% vs. 18%) were also higher in the group randomized to achieve a hematocrit of 42%. An increased incidence of thrombotic events has also been observed in patients with cancer treated with erythropoietic agents.

In a randomized controlled study (referred to as Cancer Study 1 - the ‘BEST' study) with another ESA in 939 women with metastatic breast cancer receiving chemotherapy, patients received either weekly Epoetin alfa or placebo for up to a year. This study was designed to show that survival was superior when an ESA was administered to prevent anemia (maintain hemoglobin levels between 12 and 14 g/dL or hematocrit between 36% and 42%). The study was terminated prematurely when interim results demonstrated that a higher mortality at 4 months (8.7% vs. 3.4%) and a higher rate of fatal thrombotic events (1.1% vs. 0.2%) in the first 4 months of the study were observed among patients treated with Epoetin alfa. Based on Kaplan-Meier estimates, at the time of study termination, the 12-month survival was lower in the Epoetin alfa group than in the placebo group (70% vs. 76%; HR 1.37, 95% CI: 1.07, 1.75; p = 0.012).43

A systematic review of 57 randomized controlled trials (including Cancer Studies 1 and 5 - the ‘BEST' and ‘ENHANCE' studies) evaluating 9353 patients with cancer compared ESAs plus red blood cell transfusion with red blood cell transfusion alone for prophylaxis or treatment of anemia in cancer patients with or without concurrent antineoplastic therapy. An increased relative risk of thromboembolic events (RR 1.67, 95% CI: 1.35, 2.06; 35 trials and 6769 patients) was observed in ESA-treated patients. An overall survival hazard ratio of 1.08 (95% CI: 0.99, 1.18; 42 trials and 8167 patients) was observed in ESA-treated patients.41

An increased incidence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in patients receiving Epoetin alfa undergoing surgical orthopedic procedures has been observed (see ADVERSE REACTIONS, Surgery Patients: Thrombotic/Vascular Events). In a randomized controlled study (referred to as the ‘SPINE' study), 681 adult patients, not receiving prophylactic anticoagulation and undergoing spinal surgery, received either 4 doses of 600 U/kg Epoetin alfa (7, 14, and 21 days before surgery, and the day of surgery) and standard of care (SOC) treatment, or SOC treatment alone. Preliminary analysis showed a higher incidence of DVT, determined by either Color Flow Duplex Imaging or by clinical symptoms, in the Epoetin alfa group [16 patients (4.7%)] compared to the SOC group [7 patients (2.1%)]. In addition, 12 patients in the Epoetin alfa group and 7 patients in the SOC group had other thrombotic vascular events. Deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis should be strongly considered when ESAs are used for the reduction of allogeneic RBC transfusions in surgical patients (see BOXED WARNINGS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Increased mortality was also observed in a randomized placebo-controlled study of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) in adult patients who were undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery (7 deaths in 126 patients randomized to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) versus no deaths among 56 patients receiving placebo). Four of these deaths occurred during the period of study drug administration and all four deaths were associated with thrombotic events.42 ESAs are not approved for reduction of allogeneic red blood cell transfusions in patients scheduled for cardiac surgery.

Increased Mortality and/or Increased Risk of Tumor Progression or Recurrence

Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents resulted in decreased locoregional control/progression-free survival and/or overall survival (see Table 1). These findings were observed in studies of patients with advanced head and neck cancer receiving radiation therapy (Cancer Studies 5 and 6), in patients receiving chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer (Cancer Study 1) or lymphoid malignancy (Cancer Study 2), and in patients with non-small cell lung cancer or various malignancies who were not receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy (Cancer Studies 7 and 8).

Table 1: Randomized, Controlled Trials with Decreased Survival and/or Decreased Locoregional Control

Study/Tumor/(n) Hemoglobin Target Achieved Hemoglobin (Median Q1,Q3) Primary Endpoint Adverse Outcome for ESA-containing Arm
Chemotherapy
  Cancer Study 1 Metastatic breast cancer (n=939) 12-14 g/dL 12.9 g/dL 12.2, 13.3 g/dL 12-month overall survival Decreased 12-month survival
  Cancer Study 2 Lymphoid malignancy (n=344) 13-15 g/dL (M)
13-14 g/dL (F)
11.0 g/dL 9.8, 12.1 g/dL Proportion ofpatients achieving a hemoglobin response Decreased overall survival
  Cancer Study 3 Early breast cancer (n=733) 12.5-13 g/dL 13.1 g/dL 12.5, 13.7 g/dL Relapse-free and overall survival Decreased 3 yr. relapse-free and overall survival
  Cancer Study 4 Cervical Cancer (n=114) 12-14 g/dL 12.7 g/dL 12.1, 13.3 g/dL Progression-freeand overall survivaland locoregionalcontrol Decreased 3 yr. progression-free and overall survival and locoregional control
Radiotherapy Alone
  Cancer Study 5 Head and neck cancer (n=351) ≥ 15 g/dL (M)
≥ 14 g/dL (F)
Not available Locoregional progression-free survival Decreased 5-year locoregional progression-free survival Decreased overall survival
  Cancer Study 6 Head and neckcancer(n=522) 14-15.5 g/dL Not available Locoregional disease control Decreased locoregional disease control
No Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy
  Cancer Study 7 Non-small cell lung cancer (n=70) 12-14 g/dL Not available Quality of life Decreased overall survival
  Cancer Study 8 Non-myeloid malignancy (n=989) 12-13 g/dL 10.6 g/dL 9.4, 11.8 g/dL RBC transfusions Decreased overall survival

Decreased overall survival

Cancer Study 1 (the ‘BEST' study) was previously described (see WARNINGS: Increased Mortality, Serious Cardiovascular Events, Thromboembolic Events, and Stroke). Mortality at 4 months (8.7% vs. 3.4%) was significantly higher in the Epoetin alfa arm. The most common investigator-attributed cause of death within the first 4 months was disease progression; 28 of 41 deaths in the Epoetin alfa arm and 13 of 16 deaths in the placebo arm were attributed to disease progression. Investigator assessed time to tumor progression was not different between the two groups. Survival at 12 months was significantly lower in the Epoetin alfa arm (70% vs. 76%, HR 1.37, 95% CI: 1.07, 1.75; p = 0.012).43

Cancer Study 2 was a Phase 3, double-blind, randomized (darbepoetin alfa vs. placebo) study conducted in 344 anemic patients with lymphoid malignancy receiving chemotherapy. With a median follow-up of 29 months, overall mortality rates were significantly higher among patients randomized to darbepoetin alfa as compared to placebo (HR 1.36, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.82).

Cancer Study 7 was a Phase 3, multicenter, randomized (Epoetin alfa vs. placebo), double-blind study, in which patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer receiving only palliative radiotherapy or no active therapy were treated with Epoetin alfa to achieve and maintain hemoglobin levels between 12 and 14 g/dL. Following an interim analysis of 70 of 300 patients planned, a significant difference in survival in favor of the patients on the placebo arm of the trial was observed (median survival 63 vs. 129 days; HR 1.84; p = 0.04).

Cancer Study 8 was a Phase 3, double-blind, randomized (darbepoetin alfa vs. placebo), 16-week study in 989 anemic patients with active malignant disease, neither receiving nor planning to receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy. There was no evidence of a statistically significant reduction in proportion of patients receiving RBC transfusions. The median survival was shorter in the darbepoetin alfa treatment group (8 months) compared with the placebo group (10.8 months); HR 1.30, 95% CI: 1.07, 1.57.

Decreased progression-free survival and overall survival

Cancer Study 3 (the ‘PREPARE' study) was a randomized controlled study in which darbepoetin alfa was administered to prevent anemia conducted in 733 women receiving neo-adjuvant breast cancer treatment. After a median follow-up of approximately 3 years, the survival rate (86% vs. 90%, HR 1.42, 95% CI: 0.93, 2.18) and relapse-free survival rate (72% vs. 78%, HR 1.33, 95% CI: 0.99, 1.79) were lower in the darbepoetin alfa-treated arm compared to the control arm.

Cancer Study 4 (protocol GOG 191) was a randomized controlled study that enrolled 114 of a planned 460 cervical cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Patients were randomized to receive Epoetin alfa to maintain hemoglobin between 12 and 14 g/dL or to transfusion support as needed. The study was terminated prematurely due to an increase in thromboembolic events in Epoetin alfa-treated patients compared to control (19% vs. 9%). Both local recurrence (21% vs. 20%) and distant recurrence (12% vs. 7%) were more frequent in Epoetin alfa-treated patients compared to control. Progression-free survival at 3 years was lower in the Epoetin alfa-treated group compared to control (59% vs. 62%, HR 1.06, 95% CI: 0.58, 1.91). Overall survival at 3 years was lower in the Epoetin alfa-treated group compared to control (61% vs. 71%, HR 1.28, 95% CI: 0.68, 2.42).

Cancer Study 5 (the ‘ENHANCE' study) was a randomized controlled study in 351 head and neck cancer patients where Epoetin beta or placebo was administered to achieve target hemoglobin of 14 and 15 g/dL for women and men, respectively. Locoregional progression-free survival was significantly shorter in patients receiving Epoetin beta (HR 1.62, 95% CI: 1.22, 2.14; p = 0.0008) with a median of 406 days Epoetin beta vs. 745 days placebo. Overall survival was significantly shorter in patients receiving Epoetin beta (HR 1.39, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.84; p = 0.02).38

Decreased locoregional control

Cancer Study 6 (DAHANCA 10) was conducted in 522 patients with primary squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck receiving radiation therapy randomized to darbepoetin alfa with radiotherapy or radiotherapy alone. An interim analysis on 484 patients demonstrated that locoregional control at 5 years was significantly shorter in patients receiving darbepoetin alfa (RR 1.44, 95% CI: 1.06, 1.96; p = 0.02). Overall survival was shorter in patients receiving darbepoetin alfa (RR 1.28, 95% CI: 0.98, 1.68; p = 0.08).

ESA APPRISE Oncology Program

Prescribers and hospitals must enroll in and comply with the ESA APPRISE Oncology Program to prescribe and/or dispense PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) to patients with cancer. To enroll, visit www.esa-apprise.com or call 1-866-284-8089 for further assistance. Additionally, prescribers and patients must provide written acknowledgement of a discussion of the risks associated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) .

Pure Red Cell Aplasia

Cases of pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) and of severe anemia, with or without other cytopenias, associated with neutralizing antibodies to erythropoietin have been reported in patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) . This has been reported predominantly in patients with CRF receiving ESAs by subcutaneous administration. PRCA has also been reported in patients receiving ESAs while undergoing treatment for hepatitis C with interferon and ribavirin. Any patient who develops a sudden loss of response to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , accompanied by severe anemia and low reticulocyte count, should be evaluated for the etiology of loss of effect, including the presence of neutralizing antibodies to erythropoietin (see PRECAUTIONS: Lack or Loss of Response). If anti-erythropoietin antibody-associated anemia is suspected, withhold PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) and other ESAs. Contact CENTOCOR ORTHO BIOTECH at 1 888 2ASK OBI (1-888-227-5624) to perform assays for binding and neutralizing antibodies. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should be permanently discontinued in patients with antibody-mediated anemia. Patients should not be switched to other ESAs as antibodies may cross-react (see ADVERSE REACTIONS: Immunogenicity).

Albumin (Human)

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) contains albumin, a derivative of human blood. Based on effective donor screening and product manufacturing processes, it carries an extremely remote risk for transmission of viral diseases. A theoretical risk for transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) also is considered extremely remote. No cases of transmission of viral diseases or CJD have ever been identified for albumin.

Chronic Renal Failure Patients

Hypertension: Patients with uncontrolled hypertension should not be treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) ; blood pressure should be controlled adequately before initiation of therapy. Although there do not appear to be any direct pressor effects of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , blood pressure may rise during PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy. During the early phase of treatment when the hematocrit is increasing, approximately 25% of patients on dialysis may require initiation of, or increases in, antihypertensive therapy. Hypertensive encephalopathy and seizures have been observed in patients with CRF treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) .

Special care should be taken to closely monitor and aggressively control blood pressure in patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) . Patients should be advised as to the importance of compliance with antihypertensive therapy and dietary restrictions. If blood pressure is difficult to control by initiation of appropriate measures, the hemoglobin may be reduced by decreasing or withholding the dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) . A clinically significant decrease in hemoglobin may not be observed for several weeks.

It is recommended that the dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) be decreased if the hemoglobin increase exceeds 1 g/dL in any 2-week period, because of the possible association of excessive rate of rise of hemoglobin with an exacerbation of hypertension. In CRF patients on hemodialysis with clinically evident ischemic heart disease or congestive heart failure, the dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should be carefully adjusted to achieve and maintain hemoglobin levels between 10-12 g/dL (see WARNINGS: Increased Mortality, Serious Cardiovascular Events, Thromboembolic Events, and Stroke, and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION: Chronic Renal Failure Patients).

Seizures: Seizures have occurred in patients with CRF participating in PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) clinical trials.

In adult patients on dialysis, there was a higher incidence of seizures during the first 90 days of therapy (occurring in approximately 2.5% of patients) as compared with later timepoints.

Given the potential for an increased risk of seizures during the first 90 days of therapy, blood pressure and the presence of premonitory neurologic symptoms should be monitored closely. Patients should be cautioned to avoid potentially hazardous activities such as driving or operating heavy machinery during this period.

While the relationship between seizures and the rate of rise of hemoglobin is uncertain, it is recommended that the dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) be decreased if the hemoglobin increase exceeds 1 g/dL in any 2-week period.

Thrombotic Events: During hemodialysis, patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) may require increased anticoagulation with heparin to prevent clotting of the artificial kidney (see ADVERSE REACTIONS for more information about thrombotic events).

Other thrombotic events (eg, myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accident, transient ischemic attack) have occurred in clinical trials at an annualized rate of less than 0.04 events per patient year of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy. These trials were conducted in adult patients with CRF (whether on dialysis or not) in whom the target hematocrit was 32% to 40%. However, the risk of thrombotic events, including vascular access thrombosis, was significantly increased in adult patients with ischemic heart disease or congestive heart failure receiving PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy with the goal of reaching a normal hematocrit (42%) as compared to a target hematocrit of 30%. Patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease should be monitored closely.

Zidovudine-treated HIV-infected Patients

In contrast to CRF patients, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy has not been linked to exacerbation of hypertension, seizures, and thrombotic events in HIV-infected patients. However, the clinical data do not rule out an increased risk for serious cardiovascular events.

PRECAUTIONS

The parenteral administration of any biologic product should be attended by appropriate precautions in case allergic or other untoward reactions occur (see CONTRAINDICATIONS). In clinical trials, while transient rashes were occasionally observed concurrently with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy, no serious allergic or anaphylactic reactions were reported (see ADVERSE REACTIONS for more information regarding allergic reactions).

The safety and efficacy of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy have not been established in patients with a known history of a seizure disorder or underlying hematologic disease (eg, sickle cell anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, or hypercoagulable disorders).

In some female patients, menses have resumed following PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy; the possibility of pregnancy should be discussed and the need for contraception evaluated.

Hematology

Exacerbation of porphyria has been observed rarely in patients with CRF treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) . However, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) has not caused increased urinary excretion of porphyrin metabolites in normal volunteers, even in the presence of a rapid erythropoietic response. Nevertheless, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should be used with caution in patients with known porphyria.

In preclinical studies in dogs and rats, but not in monkeys, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy was associated with subclinical bone marrow fibrosis. Bone marrow fibrosis is a known complication of CRF in humans and may be related to secondary hyperparathyroidism or unknown factors. The incidence of bone marrow fibrosis was not increased in a study of adult patients on dialysis who were treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) for 12 to 19 months, compared to the incidence of bone marrow fibrosis in a matched group of patients who had not been treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) .

Hemoglobin in CRF patients should be measured twice a week; zidovudine-treated HIV-infected and cancer patients should have hemoglobin measured once a week until hemoglobin has been stabilized, and measured periodically thereafter.

Lack or Loss of Response

If the patient fails to respond or to maintain a response to doses within the recommended dosing range, the following etiologies should be considered and evaluated:

  1. Iron deficiency: Virtually all patients will eventually require supplemental iron therapy (see Iron Evaluation).
  2. Underlying infectious, inflammatory, or malignant processes.
  3. Occult blood loss.
  4. Underlying hematologic diseases (ie, thalassemia, refractory anemia, or other myelodysplastic disorders).
  5. Vitamin deficiencies: Folic acid or vitamin B12.
  6. Hemolysis.
  7. Aluminum intoxication.
  8. Osteitis fibrosa cystica.
  9. Pure Red Cell Aplasia (PRCA) or anti-erythropoietin antibody-associated anemia: In the absence of another etiology, the patient should be evaluated for evidence of PRCA and sera should be tested for the presence of antibodies to erythropoietin (see WARNINGS: Pure Red Cell Aplasia).

See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION: Chronic Renal Failure Patients for management of patients with an insufficient hemoglobin response to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy.

Iron Evaluation

During PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy, absolute or functional iron deficiency may develop. Functional iron deficiency, with normal ferritin levels but low transferrin saturation, is presumably due to the inability to mobilize iron stores rapidly enough to support increased erythropoiesis. Transferrin saturation should be at least 20% and ferritin should be at least 100 ng/mL.

Prior to and during PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy, the patient's iron status, including transferrin saturation (serum iron divided by iron binding capacity) and serum ferritin, should be evaluated. Virtually all patients will eventually require supplemental iron to increase or maintain transferrin saturation to levels which will adequately support erythropoiesis stimulated by PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) . All surgery patients being treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should receive adequate iron supplementation throughout the course of therapy in order to support erythropoiesis and avoid depletion of iron stores.

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, and Impairment of Fertility

Carcinogenic potential of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) has not been evaluated. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) does not induce bacterial gene mutation (Ames Test), chromosomal aberrations in mammalian cells, micronuclei in mice, or gene mutation at the HGPRT locus. In female rats treated IV with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , there was a trend for slightly increased fetal wastage at doses of 100 and 500 Units/kg.

Pregnancy Category C

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) has been shown to have adverse effects in rats when given in doses 5 times the human dose. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should be used during pregnancy only if potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

In studies in female rats, there were decreases in body weight gain, delays in appearance of abdominal hair, delayed eyelid opening, delayed ossification, and decreases in the number of caudal vertebrae in the F1 fetuses of the 500 Units/kg group. In female rats treated IV, there was a trend for slightly increased fetal wastage at doses of 100 and 500 Units/kg. PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) has not shown any adverse effect at doses as high as 500 Units/kg in pregnant rabbits (from day 6 to 18 of gestation).

Nursing Mothers

Postnatal observations of the live offspring (F1 generation) of female rats treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) during gestation and lactation revealed no effect of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) at doses of up to 500 Units/kg. There were, however, decreases in body weight gain, delays in appearance of abdominal hair, eyelid opening, and decreases in the number of caudal vertebrae in the F1 fetuses of the 500 Units/kg group. There were no PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) -related effects on the F2 generation fetuses.

It is not known whether PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is administered to a nursing woman.

Pediatric Use

See WARNINGS: Pediatrics.

Pediatric Patients on Dialysis: PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is indicated in infants (1 month to 2 years), children (2 years to 12 years), and adolescents (12 years to 16 years) for the treatment of anemia associated with CRF requiring dialysis. Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients less than 1 month old have not been established (see Clinical Experience: Chronic Renal Failure, Pediatric Patients On Dialysis). The safety data from these studies show that there is no increased risk to pediatric CRF patients on dialysis when compared to the safety profile of PROCRIT (epoetin alfa) ® in adult CRF patients (see ADVERSE REACTIONS and WARNINGS). Published literature27-30 provides supportive evidence of the safety and effectiveness of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) in pediatric CRF patients on dialysis.

Pediatric Patients Not Requiring Dialysis: Published literature30,31 has reported the use of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) in 133 pediatric patients with anemia associated with CRF not requiring dialysis, ages 3 months to 20 years‚ treated with 50 to 250 Units/kg SC or IV‚ QW to TIW. Dose-dependent increases in hemoglobin and hematocrit were observed with reductions in transfusion requirements.

Pediatric HIV-infected Patients: Published literature32,33 has reported the use of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) in 20 zidovudine-treated anemic HIV-infected pediatric patients ages 8 months to 17 years‚ treated with 50 to 400 Units/kg SC or IV‚ 2 to 3 times per week. Increases in hemoglobin levels and in reticulocyte counts‚ and decreases in or elimination of blood transfusions were observed.

Pediatric Cancer Patients on Chemotherapy: The safety and effectiveness of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) were evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study (see Clinical Experience, Weekly (QW) Dosing, Pediatric Patients).

Geriatric Use

Among 1051 patients enrolled in the 5 clinical trials of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) for reduction of allogeneic blood transfusions in patients undergoing elective surgery 745 received PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) and 306 received placebo. Of the 745 patients who received PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , 432 (58%) were aged 65 and over, while 175 (23%) were 75 and over. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between geriatric and younger patients. The dose requirements for PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) in geriatric and younger patients within the 4 trials using the TIW schedule were similar. Insufficient numbers of patients were enrolled in the study using the weekly dosing regimen to determine whether the dosing requirements differ for this schedule.

Of the 882 patients enrolled in the 3 studies of chronic renal failure patients on dialysis, 757 received PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) and 125 received placebo. Of the 757 patients who received PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , 361 (47%) were aged 65 and over, while 100 (13%) were 75 and over. No differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between geriatric and younger patients. Dose selection and adjustment for an elderly patient should be individualized to achieve and maintain the target hematocrit (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Insufficient numbers of patients age 65 or older were enrolled in clinical studies of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) for the treatment of anemia associated with pre-dialysis chronic renal failure, cancer chemotherapy, and Zidovudine-treatment of HIV infection to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects.

Chronic Renal Failure Patients

Patients with CRF Not Requiring Dialysis

Blood pressure and hemoglobin should be monitored no less frequently than for patients maintained on dialysis. Renal function and fluid and electrolyte balance should be closely monitored.

Hematology

Sufficient time should be allowed to determine a patient's responsiveness to a dosage of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) before adjusting the dose. Because of the time required for erythropoiesis and the red cell half-life, an interval of 2 to 6 weeks may occur between the time of a dose adjustment (initiation, increase, decrease, or discontinuation) and a significant change in hemoglobin.

For patients who respond to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) with a rapid increase in hemoglobin (eg, more than 1 g/dL in any 2-week period), the dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should be reduced because of the possible association of excessive rate of rise of hemoglobin with an exacerbation of hypertension.

The elevated bleeding time characteristic of CRF decreases toward normal after correction of anemia in adult patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) . Reduction of bleeding time also occurs after correction of anemia by transfusion.

Laboratory Monitoring

The hemoglobin should be determined twice a week until it has stabilized in the suggested hemoglobin range and the maintenance dose has been established. After any dose adjustment, the hemoglobin should also be determined twice weekly for at least 2 to 6 weeks until it has been determined that the hemoglobin has stabilized in response to the dose change. The hemoglobin should then be monitored at regular intervals.

A complete blood count with differential and platelet count should be performed regularly. During clinical trials, modest increases were seen in platelets and white blood cell counts. While these changes were statistically significant, they were not clinically significant and the values remained within normal ranges.

In patients with CRF, serum chemistry values (including blood urea nitrogen [BUN], uric acid, creatinine, phosphorus, and potassium) should be monitored regularly. During clinical trials in adult patients on dialysis, modest increases were seen in BUN, creatinine, phosphorus, and potassium. In some adult patients with CRF not on dialysis treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , modest increases in serum uric acid and phosphorus were observed. While changes were statistically significant, the values remained within the ranges normally seen in patients with CRF.

Diet

The importance of compliance with dietary and dialysis prescriptions should be reinforced. In particular, hyperkalemia is not uncommon in patients with CRF. In US studies in patients on dialysis, hyperkalemia has occurred at an annualized rate of approximately 0.11 episodes per patient-year of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy, often in association with poor compliance to medication, diet, and/or dialysis.

Dialysis Management

Therapy with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) results in an increase in hematocrit and a decrease in plasma volume which could affect dialysis efficiency. In studies to date, the resulting increase in hematocrit did not appear to adversely affect dialyzer function8,9 or the efficiency of high flux hemodialysis.10 During hemodialysis, patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) may require increased anticoagulation with heparin to prevent clotting of the artificial kidney.

Patients who are marginally dialyzed may require adjustments in their dialysis prescription. As with all patients on dialysis, the serum chemistry values (including BUN, creatinine, phosphorus, and potassium) in patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should be monitored regularly to assure the adequacy of the dialysis prescription.

Renal Function

In adult patients with CRF not on dialysis, renal function and fluid and electrolyte balance should be closely monitored. In patients with CRF not on dialysis, placebo-controlled studies of progression of renal dysfunction over periods of greater than 1 year have not been completed. In shorter term trials in adult patients with CRF not on dialysis, changes in creatinine and creatinine clearance were not significantly different in patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) compared with placebo-treated patients. Analysis of the slope of 1/serum creatinine versus time plots in these patients indicates no significant change in the slope after the initiation of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy.

Zidovudine-treated HIV-infected Patients

Hypertension

Exacerbation of hypertension has not been observed in zidovudine-treated HIV-infected patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) . However, PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should be withheld in these patients if pre-existing hypertension is uncontrolled, and should not be started until blood pressure is controlled. In double-blind studies, a single seizure has been experienced by a patient treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) .23

Cancer Patients on Chemotherapy

Hypertension

Hypertension, associated with a significant increase in hemoglobin, has been noted rarely in patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) . Nevertheless, blood pressure in patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should be monitored carefully, particularly in patients with an underlying history of hypertension or cardiovascular disease.

Seizures

In double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, 3.2% (n = 2/63) of patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) TIW and 2.9% (n = 2/68) of placebo-treated patients had seizures. Seizures in 1.6% (n = 1/63) of patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) TIW occurred in the context of a significant increase in blood pressure and hematocrit from baseline values. However, both patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) also had underlying CNS pathology which may have been related to seizure activity.

In a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial utilizing weekly dosing with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , 1.2% (n = 2/168) of safety-evaluable patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) and 1% (n = 1/165) of placebo-treated patients had seizures. Seizures in the patients treated with weekly PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) occurred in the context of a significant increase in hemoglobin from baseline values however significant increases in blood pressure were not seen. These patients may have had other CNS pathology.

Thrombotic Events

In double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, 3.2% (n = 2/63) of patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) TIW and 11.8% (n = 8/68) of placebo-treated patients had thrombotic events (eg, pulmonary embolism, cerebrovascular accident), (see WARNINGS: Increased Mortality, Serious Cardiovascular Events, Thromboembolic Events, and Stroke).

In a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial utilizing weekly dosing with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , 6.0% (n = 10/168) of safety-evaluable patients treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) and 3.6% (n = 6/165) (p = 0.444) of placebo-treated patients had clinically significant thrombotic events (deep vein thrombosis requiring anticoagulant therapy, embolic event including pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction, cerebral ischemia, left ventricular failure and thrombotic microangiopathy). A definitive relationship between the rate of hemoglobin increase and the occurrence of clinically significant thrombotic events could not be evaluated due to the limited schedule of hemoglobin measurements in this study.

The safety and efficacy of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) were evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study that enrolled 222 anemic patients ages 5 to 18 receiving treatment for a variety of childhood malignancies. Due to the study design (small sample size and the heterogeneity of the underlying malignancies and of anti-neoplastic treatments employed), a determination of the effect of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) on the incidence of thrombotic events could not be performed. In the PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) arm, the overall incidence of thrombotic events was 10.8% and the incidence of serious or life-threatening events was 7.2%.

Surgery Patients

Hypertension

Blood pressure may rise in the perioperative period in patients being treated with PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) . Therefore, blood pressure should be monitored carefully.

REFERENCES

8. Paganini E, Garcia J, Ellis P, et al. Clinical Sequelae of Correction of Anemia with Recombinant Human Erythropoietin (r-HuEPO); Urea Kinetics, Dialyzer Function and Reuse. Am J Kid Dis. 1988;11:16.

9. Delano BG, Lundin AP, Golansky R, et al. Dialyzer Urea and Creatinine Clearances Not Significantly Changed in r-HuEPO Treated Maintenance Hemodialysis (MD) Patients. Kidney Intl. 1988;33:219.

10. Stivelman J, Van Wyck D, Ogden D. Use of Recombinant Erythropoietin (r-HuEPO) with High Flux Dialysis (HFD) Does Not Worsen Azotemia or Shorten Access Survival. Kidney Intl. 1988;33:239.

23. Ortho Biologics, Inc., data on file.

27. Campos A, Garin EH. Therapy of renal anemia in children and adolescents with recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO). Clin Pediatr (Phila). 1992;31:94-99.

28. Montini G, Zacchello G, Baraldi E, et al. Benefits and risks of anemia correction with recombinant human erythropoietin in children maintained by hemodialysis. J Pediatr. 1990;117:556-560.

29. Offner G, Hoyer PF, Latta K, Winkler L, Brodehl J, Scigalla P. One year's experience with recombinant erythropoietin in children undergoing continuous ambulatory or cycling peritoneal dialysis. Pediatr Nephrol. 1990;4:498-500.

30. Muller-Wiefel DE, Scigalla P. Specific problems of renal anemia in childhood. Contrib Nephrol. 1988;66:71-84.

31. Scharer K, Klare B, Dressel P, Gretz N. Treatment of renal anemia by subcutaneous erythropoietin in children with preterminal chronic renal failure. Acta Paediatr. 1993;82:953-958.

32. Mueller BU, Jacobsen RN, Jarosinski P, et al. Erythropoietin for zidovudine-associated anemia in children with HIV infection. Pediatr AIDS and HIV Infect: Fetus to Adolesc. 1994;5:169-173.

33. Zuccotti GV, Plebani A, Biasucci G, et al. Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor and erythropoietin therapy in children with human immunodeficiency virus infection. J Int Med Res. 1996;24:115-121.

37. Besarab A, Bolton WK, Browne JK, et al. The effects of normal as compared with low hematocrit values in patients with cardiac disease who are receiving hemodialysis and epoetin. NEJM. 1998;339:584-90.

38. Henke, M, Laszig, R, Rübe, C., et al. Erythropoietin to treat head and neck cancer patients with anaemia undergoing radiotherapy: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet. 2003;362:1255-1260.

40. Singh AK, Szczech L, Tang KL, et al. Correction of Anemia with Epoetin Alfa in Chronic Kidney Disease, N Engl j Med. 2006; 355:2085-98.

41. Bohlius J, Wilson J, Seidenfeld J, et at. Recombinant Human Erythropoietins and Cancer Patients: Updated Meta-Analysis of 57 Studies Including 9353 Patients. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006; 98:708-14.

42. D'Ambra MN, Gray RJ, Hillman R, et al. Effect of Recombinant Human Erythropoietin on Transfusion Risk in Coronary Bypass Patients. Ann Thorac Surg. 1997; 64: 1686-93.

43. Leyland-Jones B, Semiglazov V, Pawlicki M, et al. Maintaining Normal Hemoglobin Levels With Epoetin Alfa in Mainly Nonanemic Patients With Metastatic Breast Cancer Receiving First-Line Chemotherapy: A Survival Study. JCO. 2005; 23(25): 1-13.

Last reviewed on RxList: 6/20/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

OVERDOSE

The expected manifestations of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) overdosage include signs and symptoms associated with an excessive and/or rapid increase in hemoglobin concentration, including any of the cardiovascular events described in WARNINGS and listed in ADVERSE REACTIONS. Patients receiving an overdosage of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) should be monitored closely for cardiovascular events and hematologic abnormalities. Polycythemia should be managed acutely with phlebotomy, as clinically indicated. Following resolution of the effects due to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) overdosage, reintroduction of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy should be accompanied by close monitoring for evidence of rapid increases in hemoglobin concentration ( > 1 gm/dL per 14 days). In patients with an excessive hematopoietic response, reduce the PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) dose in accordance with the recommendations described in DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is contraindicated in patients with:

  1. Uncontrolled hypertension.
  2. Known hypersensitivity to mammalian cell-derived products.
  3. Known hypersensitivity to Albumin (Human).

Last reviewed on RxList: 6/20/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Chronic Renal Failure Patients

Endogenous production of erythropoietin is normally regulated by the level of tissue oxygenation. Hypoxia and anemia generally increase the production of erythropoietin, which in turn stimulates erythropoiesis.2 In normal subjects, plasma erythropoietin levels range from 0.01 to 0.03 Units/mL and increase up to 100- to 1000-fold during hypoxia or anemia.2 In contrast, in patients with chronic renal failure (CRF), production of erythropoietin is impaired, and this erythropoietin deficiency is the primary cause of their anemia.3,4

Chronic renal failure is the clinical situation in which there is a progressive and usually irreversible decline in kidney function. Such patients may manifest the sequelae of renal dysfunction, including anemia, but do not necessarily require regular dialysis. Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are those patients with CRF who require regular dialysis or kidney transplantation for survival.

PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) has been shown to stimulate erythropoiesis in anemic patients with CRF, including both patients on dialysis and those who do not require regular dialysis.4-12 The first evidence of a response to the three times weekly (TIW) administration of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) is an increase in the reticulocyte count within 10 days, followed by increases in the red cell count, hemoglobin, and hematocrit, usually within 2 to 6 weeks.4,5 Because of the length of time required for erythropoiesis — several days for erythroid progenitors to mature and be released into the circulation — a clinically significant increase in hematocrit is usually not observed in less than 2 weeks and may require up to 6 weeks in some patients. Once the hematocrit reaches the suggested target range (30% to 36%), that level can be sustained by PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy in the absence of iron deficiency and concurrent illnesses.

The rate of hematocrit increase varies between patients and is dependent upon the dose of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) , within a therapeutic range of approximately 50 to 300 Units/kg TIW.4 A greater biologic response is not observed at doses exceeding 300 Units/kg TIW.6 Other factors affecting the rate and extent of response include availability of iron stores, the baseline hematocrit, and the presence of concurrent medical problems.

Zidovudine-treated HIV-infected Patients

Responsiveness to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) in HIV-infected patients is dependent upon the endogenous serum erythropoietin level prior to treatment. Patients with endogenous serum erythropoietin levels ≤ 500 mUnits/mL, and who are receiving a dose of zidovudine ≤ 4200 mg/week, may respond to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy. Patients with endogenous serum erythropoietin levels > 500 mUnits/mL do not appear to respond to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy. In a series of four clinical trials involving 255 patients, 60% to 80% of HIV-infected patients treated with zidovudine had endogenous serum erythropoietin levels ≤ 500 mUnits/mL.

Response to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) in zidovudine-treated HIV-infected patients is manifested by reduced transfusion requirements and increased hematocrit.

Cancer Patients on Chemotherapy

A series of clinical trials enrolled 131 anemic cancer patients who received PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) TIW and who were receiving cyclic cisplatin- or non cisplatin-containing chemotherapy. Endogenous baseline serum erythropoietin levels varied among patients in these trials with approximately 75% (n = 83/110) having endogenous serum erythropoietin levels ≤ 132 mUnits/mL, and approximately 4% (n = 4/110) of patients having endogenous serum erythropoietin levels > 500 mUnits/mL. In general, patients with lower baseline serum erythropoietin levels responded more vigorously to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) than patients with higher baseline erythropoietin levels. Although no specific serum erythropoietin level can be stipulated above which patients would be unlikely to respond to PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) therapy, treatment of patients with grossly elevated serum erythropoietin levels (eg, > 200 mUnits/mL) is not recommended.

Pharmacokinetics

In adult and pediatric patients with CRF, the elimination half-life of plasma erythropoietin after intravenously administered PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) ranges from 4 to 13 hours.13-15 The half-life is approximately 20% longer in CRF patients than that in healthy subjects. After SC administration, peak plasma levels are achieved within 5 to 24 hours. The half-life is similar between adult patients with serum creatinine level greater than 3 and not on dialysis and those maintained on dialysis. The pharmacokinetic data indicate no apparent difference in PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) half-life among adult patients above or below 65 years of age.

The pharmacokinetic profile of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) in children and adolescents appears to be similar to that of adults. Limited data are available in neonates.16 A study of 7 preterm very low birth weight neonates and 10 healthy adults given IV erythropoietin suggested that distribution volume was approximately 1.5 to 2 times higher in the preterm neonates than in the healthy adults, and clearance was approximately 3 times higher in the preterm neonates than in the healthy adults.39

The pharmacokinetics of PROCRIT® (epoetin alfa) have not been studied in HIV-infected patients.

A pharmacokinetic study comparing 150 Units/kg SC TIW to 40,000 Units SC weekly dosing regimen was conducted for 4 weeks in healthy subjects (n = 12) and for 6 weeks in anemic cancer patients (n = 32) receiving cyclic chemotherapy. There was no accumulation of serum erythropoietin after the 2 dosing regimens during the study period. The 40,000 Units weekly regimen had a higher Cmax (3- to 7-fold), longer Tmax (2- to 3-fold), higher AUC0-168h (2- to 3-fold) of erythropoietin and lower clearance (50%) than the 150 Units/kg TIW regimen. In anemic cancer patients, the average t1/2 was similar (40 hours with range of 16 to 67 hours) after both dosing regimens. After the 150 Units/kg TIW dosing, the values of Tmax and clearance are similar (13.3 ± 12.4 vs. 14.2 ± 6.7 hours, and 20.2 ± 15.9 vs. 23.6 ± 9.5 mL/h/kg) between Week 1 when patients were receiving chemotherapy (n = 14) and Week 3 when patients were not receiving chemotherapy (n = 4). Differences were observed after the 40,000 Units weekly dosing with longer Tmax (38 ± 18 hours) and lower clearance (9.2 ± 4.7 mL/h/kg) during Week 1 when patients were receiving chemotherapy (n = 18) compared with those (22 ± 4.5 hours, 13.9 ± 7.6 mL/h/kg) during Week 3 when patients were not receiving chemotherapy (n = 7).

The bioequivalence between the 10,000 Units/mL citrate-buffered Epoetin alfa formulation and the 40,000 Units/mL phosphate-buffered Epoetin alfa formulation has been demonstrated after SC administration of single 750 Units/kg doses to healthy subjects.

REFERENCES

1. Egrie JC, Strickland TW, Lane J, et al. Characterization and Biological Effects of Recombinant Human Erythropoietin. Immunobiol. 1986;72:213-224.

2. Graber SE, Krantz SB. Erythropoietin and the Control of Red Cell Production. Ann Rev Med. 1978;29:51-66.

3. Eschbach JW, Adamson JW. Anemia of End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Kidney Intl. 1985;28:1-5.

4. Eschbach JW, Egrie JC, Downing MR, et al. Correction of the Anemia of End-Stage Renal Disease with Recombinant Human Erythropoietin. NEJM. 1987;316:73-78.

5. Eschbach JW, Abdulhadi MH, Browne JK, et al. Recombinant Human Erythropoietin in Anemic Patients with End-Stage Renal Disease. Ann Intern Med. 1989;111:992-1000.

6. Eschbach JW, Egrie JC, Downing MR, et al. The Use of Recombinant Human Erythropoietin (r-HuEPO): Effect in End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). In: Friedman, Beyer, DeSanto, Giordano, eds. Prevention of Chronic Uremia. Philadelphia, PA: Field and Wood Inc. 1989: 148-155.

7. Egrie JC, Eschbach JW, McGuire T, Adamson JW. Pharmacokinetics of Recombinant Human Erythropoietin (r-HuEPO) Administered to Hemodialysis (HD) Patients. Kidney Intl. 1988;33:262.

8. Paganini E, Garcia J, Ellis P, et al. Clinical Sequelae of Correction of Anemia with Recombinant Human Erythropoietin (r-HuEPO); Urea Kinetics, Dialyzer Function and Reuse. Am J Kid Dis. 1988;11:16.

9. Delano BG, Lundin AP, Golansky R, et al. Dialyzer Urea and Creatinine Clearances Not Significantly Changed in r-HuEPO Treated Maintenance Hemodialysis (MD) Patients. Kidney Intl. 1988;33:219.

10. Stivelman J, Van Wyck D, Ogden D. Use of Recombinant Erythropoietin (r-HuEPO) with High Flux Dialysis (HFD) Does Not Worsen Azotemia or Shorten Access Survival. Kidney Intl. 1988;33:239.

11. Lim VS, DeGowin RL, Zavala D, et al. Recombinant Human Erythropoietin Treatment in Pre-Dialysis Patients: A Double-Blind Placebo Controlled Trial. Ann Int Med. 1989;110:108-114.

12. Stone WJ, Graber SE, Krantz SB, et al. Treatment of the Anemia of Pre-Dialysis Patients with Recombinant Human Erythropoietin: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Am J Med Sci. 1988;296:171-179.

13. Braun A, Ding R, Seidel C, Fies T, Kurtz A, Scharer K. Pharmacokinetics of recombinant human erythropoietin applied subcutaneously to children with chronic renal failure. Pediatr Nephrol. 1993;7:61-64.

14. Geva P, Sherwood JB. Pharmacokinetics of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) in pediatric patients on chronic cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD). Blood. 1991;78 (Suppl 1):91a.

15. Jabs K, Grant JR, Harmon W, et al. Pharmacokinetics of Epoetin alfa (rHuEPO) in pediatric hemodialysis (HD) patients. J Am Soc Nephrol. 1991;2:380.

16. Kling PJ, Widness JA, Guillery EN, Veng-Pedersen P, Peters C, DeAlarcon PA. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of erythropoietin during therapy in an infant with renal failure. J Pediatr. 1992;121:822-825.

39. Widness JA, Veng-Pedersen P, Peters C, Pereira LM, Schmidt RL, Lowe SL. Erythropoietin Pharmacokinetics in Premature Infants: Developmental, Nonlinearity, and Treatment Effects. J Appl Physiol. 1996;80 (1):140-148.

Last reviewed on RxList: 6/20/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

PATIENT INFORMATION

MEDICATION GUIDE

PROCRIT®
(PRO'-KRIT)
(epoetin alfa)

Read this Medication Guide:

  • before you start PROCRIT.
  • if you are told by your healthcare provider that there is new information about PROCRIT.
  • if you are told by your healthcare provider that you may inject PROCRIT at home, read this Medication Guide each time you receive a new supply of medicine.

This Medication Guide does not take the place of talking to your healthcare provider about your medical condition or your treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider regularly about the use of PROCRIT and ask if there is new information about PROCRIT.

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

Using PROCRIT can lead to death or other serious side effects.

For patients with cancer:

Your healthcare provider has received special training through the ESA APPRISE Oncology Program in order to prescribe PROCRIT. Before you can begin to receive PROCRIT, you must sign the patient-healthcare provider acknowledgment form. When you sign this form, you are stating that your healthcare provider talked with you about the risks of taking PROCRIT.

These risks include that your tumor may grow faster and you may die sooner if you choose to take PROCRIT.

You should talk with your healthcare provider about:

  • Why PROCRIT treatment is being prescribed for you.
  • What are the chances you will get red blood cell transfusions if you do not take PROCRIT.
  • What are the chances you will get red blood cell transfusions even if you take PROCRIT.
  • How taking PROCRIT may affect the success of your cancer treatment.

After you have finished your chemotherapy course, PROCRIT treatment should be stopped.

For all patients who take PROCRIT, including patients with cancer or chronic kidney disease:

  • If you decide to take PROCRIT, your healthcare provider should prescribe the smallest dose of PROCRIT that is needed to reduce your chance of getting red blood cell transfusions.
  • You may get serious heart problems such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and may die sooner if you are treated with PROCRIT to reach a normal or near-normal hemoglobin level.
  • You may get blood clots 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. 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 symptoms of blood clots:

  • 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 ?” below.

What is PROCRIT?

PROCRIT is a man-made form of the protein human erythropoietin that is given to reduce or avoid the need for red blood cell transfusions. PROCRIT stimulates your bone marrow to make more red blood cells. Having more red blood cells raises your hemoglobin level. If your hemoglobin level stays too high or if your hemoglobin goes up too quickly, this may lead to serious health problems which may result in death. These serious health problems may happen even if you take PROCRIT and do not have an increase in your hemoglobin level.

PROCRIT may be used to treat a lower than normal number of red blood cells (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 two 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.

PROCRIT should not be used for treatment of anemia:

  • If you have cancer and you will not be receiving chemotherapy that may cause anemia for at least 2 more months.
  • If you have a cancer that has a high chance of being cured.
  • In place of emergency treatment for anemia (red blood cell transfusions).

PROCRIT has not been proven to improve quality of life, fatigue, or well-being.

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

Who should not take PROCRIT?

Do not take PROCRIT if you:

  • Have cancer and have not been counseled by your healthcare provider regarding the risks of PROCRIT or if you have not signed the patient-healthcare provider acknowledgment form before you start PROCRIT 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 called Pure Red Cell Aplasia (PRCA) that starts after treatment with PROCRIT or other erythropoietin protein medicines.
  • Have had a serious allergic reaction to PROCRIT.

Do not give PROCRIT from multidose vials to:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Babies

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking PROCRIT?

PROCRIT may not be right for you. Tell your healthcare provider about all your health conditions, including if you:

  • Have heart disease.
  • Have high blood pressure.
  • Have had a seizure (convulsion) or stroke.
  • Have any other medical conditions.
  • Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It is not known if PROCRIT may harm your unborn baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about possible pregnancy and birth control choices that are right for you.
  • Are breast-feeding or planning to breast-feed. It is not known if PROCRIT passes into breast milk.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of your medicines with you and show it to your healthcare provider when you get a new medicine.

How should I take PROCRIT?

See “What is the most important information I should know about PROCRIT?”

For patients with cancer:

Before you begin to receive PROCRIT, your healthcare provider will:

  • Ask you to review this PROCRIT Medication Guide.
  • Explain the risks of PROCRIT and answer all your questions about PROCRIT.
  • Have you sign the patient-healthcare provider acknowledgment form.

For all patients who take PROCRIT:

  • Continue to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for diet and medicines, including medicines for high blood pressure, while taking PROCRIT.
  • Have your blood pressure checked as instructed by your healthcare provider.
  • • 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 with PROCRIT.
    • 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 amount of PROCRIT , call your healthcare provider right away.

What are the possible side effects of PROCRIT?

PROCRIT may cause serious side effects.

  • See “What is the most important information I should know about PROCRIT?”
  • High blood pressure. High blood pressure is a common side effect of PROCRIT in patients with chronic kidney disease. Your blood pressure may go up or be difficult to control with blood pressure medicine while taking PROCRIT. This can happen even if you have never had high blood pressure before. Your healthcare provider should check your blood pressure often. If your blood pressure does go up, your healthcare provider may prescribe new or more blood pressure medicine.
  • Seizures. If you have any seizures while taking PROCRIT, get medical help right away and tell your healthcare provider.
  • Antibodies to PROCRIT. Your body may make antibodies to PROCRIT . These antibodies can block or lessen your body’s ability to make red blood cells and cause you to have severe anemia. Call your healthcare provider if you have unusual tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness, or fainting. You may need to stop taking PROCRIT.
  • Serious allergic reactions. Serious allergic reactions can cause a rash over your whole body, shortness of breath, wheezing, dizziness and fainting because of a drop in blood pressure, swelling around your mouth or eyes, fast pulse, or sweating. If you have a serious allergic reaction, stop using PROCRIT and call your healthcare provider or get medical help right away.
  • Dangers of giving PROCRIT to newborns, infants, and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Do not use PROCRIT from multi-dose vials in newborns, infants, pregnant or breastfeeding women because the PROCRIT in these vials contains benzyl alcohol. Benzyl alcohol has been shown to cause brain damage, other serious side effects, and death in newborn and premature babies. PROCRIT that comes in single- dose vials does not contain benzyl alcohol. See “Who should not take PROCRIT?”

Common side effects of PROCRIT include:

  • joint, muscle, or bone pain
  • fever
  • cough
  • rash
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • soreness of mouth
  • itching
  • headache
  • redness and pain in the skin where PROCRIT shots were given

These are not all of the possible side effects of PROCRIT. Your healthcare provider can give you a more complete list. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effects that bother you or that do not go away.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

How should I store PROCRIT?

  • Do not shake PROCRIT.
  • Protect PROCRIT from light.
  • Store PROCRIT in the refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C).
  • Do not freeze PROCRIT. Do not use PROCRIT that has been frozen.
  • Throw away multidose vials of PROCRIT no later than 21 days from the first day that you put a needle into the vial.
  • Single-dose vials of PROCRIT should be used only one time. Throw the vial away after use even if there is medicine left in the vial.

Keep PROCRIT and all medicines out of the reach of children.

General information about PROCRIT

Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Medication Guide. Use PROCRIT only for the condition for which it has been prescribed. Do not give PROCRIT to other patients even if they have the same symptoms that you have. It may harm them.

This Medication Guide summarizes the most important information about PROCRIT. If you would like more information about PROCRIT, talk to your healthcare provider. You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about PROCRIT that is written for healthcare professionals. For more information, go to the following website: www.PROCRIT.com or call 1-800-JANSSEN (1-800-526-7736).

What are the ingredients in PROCRIT?

Active Ingredient: epoetin alfa

Inactive Ingredients:

  • Multidose vials contain benzyl alcohol.
  • All vials contain albumin (human), sodium citrate, sodium chloride, and citric acid.
  • Single-dose vials containing 40,000 Units of PROCRIT also contain sodium phosphate monobasic monohydrate and sodium phosphate dibasic anhydrate.

This Medication Guide has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Last reviewed on RxList: 6/20/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

>

PATIENT INFORMATION

MEDICATION GUIDE

PROCRIT®
(PRO'-KRIT)
(epoetin alfa)

Read this Medication Guide:

  • before you start PROCRIT.
  • if you are told by your healthcare provider that there is new information about PROCRIT.
  • if you are told by your healthcare provider that you may inject PROCRIT at home, read this Medication Guide each time you receive a new supply of medicine.

This Medication Guide does not take the place of talking to your healthcare provider about your medical condition or your treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider regularly about the use of PROCRIT and ask if there is new information about PROCRIT.

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

Using PROCRIT can lead to death or other serious side effects.

For patients with cancer:

Your healthcare provider has received special training through the ESA APPRISE Oncology Program in order to prescribe PROCRIT. Before you can begin to receive PROCRIT, you must sign the patient-healthcare provider acknowledgment form. When you sign this form, you are stating that your healthcare provider talked with you about the risks of taking PROCRIT.

These risks include that your tumor may grow faster and you may die sooner if you choose to take PROCRIT.

You should talk with your healthcare provider about:

  • Why PROCRIT treatment is being prescribed for you.
  • What are the chances you will get red blood cell transfusions if you do not take PROCRIT.
  • What are the chances you will get red blood cell transfusions even if you take PROCRIT.
  • How taking PROCRIT may affect the success of your cancer treatment.

After you have finished your chemotherapy course, PROCRIT treatment should be stopped.

For all patients who take PROCRIT, including patients with cancer or chronic kidney disease:

  • If you decide to take PROCRIT, your healthcare provider should prescribe the smallest dose of PROCRIT that is needed to reduce your chance of getting red blood cell transfusions.
  • You may get serious heart problems such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and may die sooner if you are treated with PROCRIT to reach a normal or near-normal hemoglobin level.
  • You may get blood clots 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. 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 symptoms of blood clots:

  • 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 ?” below.

What is PROCRIT?

PROCRIT is a man-made form of the protein human erythropoietin that is given to reduce or avoid the need for red blood cell transfusions. PROCRIT stimulates your bone marrow to make more red blood cells. Having more red blood cells raises your hemoglobin level. If your hemoglobin level stays too high or if your hemoglobin goes up too quickly, this may lead to serious health problems which may result in death. These serious health problems may happen even if you take PROCRIT and do not have an increase in your hemoglobin level.

PROCRIT may be used to treat a lower than normal number of red blood cells (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 two 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.

PROCRIT should not be used for treatment of anemia:

  • If you have cancer and you will not be receiving chemotherapy that may cause anemia for at least 2 more months.
  • If you have a cancer that has a high chance of being cured.
  • In place of emergency treatment for anemia (red blood cell transfusions).

PROCRIT has not been proven to improve quality of life, fatigue, or well-being.

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

Who should not take PROCRIT?

Do not take PROCRIT if you:

  • Have cancer and have not been counseled by your healthcare provider regarding the risks of PROCRIT or if you have not signed the patient-healthcare provider acknowledgment form before you start PROCRIT 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 called Pure Red Cell Aplasia (PRCA) that starts after treatment with PROCRIT or other erythropoietin protein medicines.
  • Have had a serious allergic reaction to PROCRIT.

Do not give PROCRIT from multidose vials to:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Babies

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking PROCRIT?

PROCRIT may not be right for you. Tell your healthcare provider about all your health conditions, including if you:

  • Have heart disease.
  • Have high blood pressure.
  • Have had a seizure (convulsion) or stroke.
  • Have any other medical conditions.
  • Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It is not known if PROCRIT may harm your unborn baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about possible pregnancy and birth control choices that are right for you.
  • Are breast-feeding or planning to breast-feed. It is not known if PROCRIT passes into breast milk.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of your medicines with you and show it to your healthcare provider when you get a new medicine.

How should I take PROCRIT?

See “What is the most important information I should know about PROCRIT?”

For patients with cancer:

Before you begin to receive PROCRIT, your healthcare provider will:

  • Ask you to review this PROCRIT Medication Guide.
  • Explain the risks of PROCRIT and answer all your questions about PROCRIT.
  • Have you sign the patient-healthcare provider acknowledgment form.

For all patients who take PROCRIT:

  • Continue to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for diet and medicines, including medicines for high blood pressure, while taking PROCRIT.
  • Have your blood pressure checked as instructed by your healthcare provider.
  • • 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 with PROCRIT.
    • 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 amount of PROCRIT , call your healthcare provider right away.

What are the possible side effects of PROCRIT?

PROCRIT may cause serious side effects.

  • See “What is the most important information I should know about PROCRIT?”
  • High blood pressure. High blood pressure is a common side effect of PROCRIT in patients with chronic kidney disease. Your blood pressure may go up or be difficult to control with blood pressure medicine while taking PROCRIT. This can happen even if you have never had high blood pressure before. Your healthcare provider should check your blood pressure often. If your blood pressure does go up, your healthcare provider may prescribe new or more blood pressure medicine.
  • Seizures. If you have any seizures while taking PROCRIT, get medical help right away and tell your healthcare provider.
  • Antibodies to PROCRIT. Your body may make antibodies to PROCRIT . These antibodies can block or lessen your body’s ability to make red blood cells and cause you to have severe anemia. Call your healthcare provider if you have unusual tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness, or fainting. You may need to stop taking PROCRIT.
  • Serious allergic reactions. Serious allergic reactions can cause a rash over your whole body, shortness of breath, wheezing, dizziness and fainting because of a drop in blood pressure, swelling around your mouth or eyes, fast pulse, or sweating. If you have a serious allergic reaction, stop using PROCRIT and call your healthcare provider or get medical help right away.
  • Dangers of giving PROCRIT to newborns, infants, and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Do not use PROCRIT from multi-dose vials in newborns, infants, pregnant or breastfeeding women because the PROCRIT in these vials contains benzyl alcohol. Benzyl alcohol has been shown to cause brain damage, other serious side effects, and death in newborn and premature babies. PROCRIT that comes in single- dose vials does not contain benzyl alcohol. See “Who should not take PROCRIT?”

Common side effects of PROCRIT include:

  • joint, muscle, or bone pain
  • fever
  • cough
  • rash
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • soreness of mouth
  • itching
  • headache
  • redness and pain in the skin where PROCRIT shots were given

These are not all of the possible side effects of PROCRIT. Your healthcare provider can give you a more complete list. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effects that bother you or that do not go away.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

How should I store PROCRIT?

  • Do not shake PROCRIT.
  • Protect PROCRIT from light.
  • Store PROCRIT in the refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C).
  • Do not freeze PROCRIT. Do not use PROCRIT that has been frozen.
  • Throw away multidose vials of PROCRIT no later than 21 days from the first day that you put a needle into the vial.
  • Single-dose vials of PROCRIT should be used only one time. Throw the vial away after use even if there is medicine left in the vial.

Keep PROCRIT and all medicines out of the reach of children.

General information about PROCRIT

Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Medication Guide. Use PROCRIT only for the condition for which it has been prescribed. Do not give PROCRIT to other patients even if they have the same symptoms that you have. It may harm them.

This Medication Guide summarizes the most important information about PROCRIT. If you would like more information about PROCRIT, talk to your healthcare provider. You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about PROCRIT that is written for healthcare professionals. For more information, go to the following website: www.PROCRIT.com or call 1-800-JANSSEN (1-800-526-7736).

What are the ingredients in PROCRIT?

Active Ingredient: epoetin alfa

Inactive Ingredients:

  • Multidose vials contain benzyl alcohol.
  • All vials contain albumin (human), sodium citrate, sodium chloride, and citric acid.
  • Single-dose vials containing 40,000 Units of PROCRIT also contain sodium phosphate monobasic monohydrate and sodium phosphate dibasic anhydrate.

This Medication Guide has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Last reviewed on RxList: 6/20/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Disclaimer

Procrit Consumer

IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.

EPOETIN ALFA - INJECTION

(e-POE-tin AL-fa)

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Epogen, Procrit

WARNING: Discuss the risks and benefits of use for epoetin alfa with your doctor, as this medication may rarely cause very serious (possibly fatal) side effects, including blood clots. It will be very important to keep all laboratory test appointments, as your doctor will need to carefully check your red blood cell tests (hemoglobin). The lowest effective dose of this medication should be used. When used to treat anemia related to cancer, this medication should be stopped after completing a treatment course of chemotherapy as directed by your doctor.

USES: This medication is used to treat anemia (low red blood cell count) in people with long-term serious kidney disease (chronic renal failure), people receiving zidovudine to treat HIV, and people receiving chemotherapy for certain types of cancer (non-myeloid cancers). It may also be used in anemic patients to reduce the need for blood transfusions before certain planned surgeries that have a high risk of blood loss (usually combined with the "blood thinner" warfarin). Epoetin alfa helps to reverse anemia. It works by signaling the bone marrow to make more red blood cells. This medication is very similar to the natural substance in your body (erythropoietin) that prevents anemia.

HOW TO USE: Read the Medication Guide and Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using this medication and each time you get a refill. Learn all preparation and usage instructions in the product package. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

This medication is given as an injection under the skin or into a vein, usually 1 to 3 times a week or as directed by your doctor. Hemodialysis patients should receive this medication by injection into a vein.

Do not shake this medication. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. If you are injecting this medication under the skin, change the location of the injection site every time to avoid problem areas under the skin.

Learn how to store and discard needles and medical supplies safely. Consult your pharmacist.

The dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, and response to treatment. Blood tests should be performed frequently to check how well this medication is working and to determine the correct dose for you. Consult your doctor for more details.

Do not increase your dose or use this medication more often than directed. Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it on the same day(s) of the week as directed. It may help to mark your calendar with a reminder.

It may take 2 to 6 weeks before your red blood cell count increases. Tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they worsen.

Disclaimer

Procrit Consumer (continued)

SIDE EFFECTS: Headache, body aches, diarrhea, and irritation at the injection site may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Epoetin alfa may sometimes cause or worsen high blood pressure, especially in patients with long-term kidney failure. This effect may be caused by the number of red blood cells increasing too quickly, usually within the first 3 months of starting treatment. If you have high blood pressure, it should be adequately controlled before beginning treatment with this medication. Your blood pressure should be checked frequently. Ask your doctor if you should learn how to monitor your own blood pressure. If high blood pressure develops or worsens, follow your doctor's instructions about diet changes and starting or adjusting your high blood pressure medication. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and further kidney problems. Keep all laboratory appointments to have your blood count (hemoglobin) tested regularly to reduce the chance of this side effect.

Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: seizures, confusion, loss of consciousness.

This medication may rarely cause blood clots. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following rare but very serious side effects: pain/redness/swelling/weakness of the arms or legs, calf pain/swelling that is warm to the touch, new/worsening shortness of breath, coughing up blood, sudden vision changes, slurred speech, weakness on one side of the body, sudden severe headache, chest/jaw/left arm pain, fainting, blood clots in your hemodialysis vascular access site.

Rarely, this medication may suddenly stop working well after a period of time because your body may make antibodies that reduce the effectiveness of epoetin alfa, and a very serious anemia can result. Tell your doctor immediately if symptoms of anemia return (e.g., increased tiredness, low energy, pale skin color, shortness of breath).

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Read the Procrit (epoetin alfa) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects »

PRECAUTIONS: Before using epoetin alfa, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other drugs that cause more red blood cells to be made (e.g., darbepoetin alfa); or to products containing human albumin; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

This medication should not be used if you have a certain medical condition. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: high blood pressure (treated/controlled), blood disorders (e.g., sickle cell anemia, white blood cell or platelet problems, bone marrow problems), bleeding/clotting problems, blood vessel problems (e.g., stroke), heart problems (e.g., angina, heart failure), seizure disorder, a certain metabolic disorder (porphyria), certain vitamin deficiencies (folic acid, vitamin B12).

Infrequently, patients with long-term kidney failure on dialysis may be at increased risk of seizures during the first 3 months of treatment with this medication, possibly caused by the number of red blood cells increasing too quickly. Therefore, these patients should use caution and avoid activities such as driving or using machinery during this period. Limit alcoholic beverages because alcohol may also increase the risk of seizures.

Some forms of this medication are made from human blood. Even though the blood is carefully tested and this medication goes through a special manufacturing process, there is an extremely small chance that you may get infections from the medication (for example, virus infections such as hepatitis). Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. In some women of child-bearing age, menstrual periods have resumed with epoetin alfa treatment. Therefore, it may be possible to become pregnant while using this medication. Discuss the need for birth control with your doctor.

It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Disclaimer

Procrit Consumer (continued)

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: desmopressin.

This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.

OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call the US National Poison Hotline at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

NOTES: Do not share this medication with others.

Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood count that includes hemoglobin and hematocrit, reticulocyte count) must be performed regularly to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.

Blood tests for your iron levels will also be performed and you may be prescribed iron supplements to take. Your doctor may recommend that you eat a well-balanced diet rich in iron (e.g., raisins, figs, meat, eggs, vegetables, iron-fortified cereals). Follow your doctor's instructions and dietary recommendations.

MISSED DOSE: If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

STORAGE: Store the medication in the refrigerator between 36-46 degrees F (2-8 degrees C). Do not freeze. Let the medication come to room temperature before using. For the single-use vials, discard any unused medication immediately. For the multi-use vials, store opened vials in the refrigerator and discard any unused medication after 3 weeks. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.

MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-800-854-1166 (USA) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).

Information last revised June 2011. Copyright(c) 2011 First Databank, Inc.

Procrit Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: Epogen, Procrit

Generic Name: epoetin alfa (Pronunciation: e POE e tin AL fa)

What is epoetin alfa (Procrit)?

Epoetin alfa is a man-made form of a protein that helps your body produce red blood cells. The amount of this protein in your body may be reduced when you have kidney failure or use certain medications. When fewer red blood cells are produced, you can develop a condition called anemia.

Epoetin alfa is used to treat anemia (a lack of red blood cells in the body).

Epoetin alfa may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of epoetin alfa (Procrit)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Contact your doctor if you feel weak, lightheaded, or short of breath, or if your skin looks pale. These may be signs that your body has stopped responding to this medication.

Epoetin alfa can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke. This risk will increase the longer you use epoetin alfa. Seek emergency medical help if you have symptoms of heart or circulation problems, such as:

  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;
  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;
  • swelling, rapid weight gain;
  • sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;
  • sudden severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance; or
  • pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs.

Stop using epoetin alfa and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • feeling light-headed, fainting;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat;
  • pale skin, feeling short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • seizure (black-out or convulsions);
  • low potassium (confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling); or
  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat;
  • joint pain, bone pain;
  • muscle pain, muscle spasm;
  • dizziness, depression, mild headache;
  • weight loss;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • nausea, vomiting, trouble swallowing; or
  • pain or tenderness where you injected the medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the Procrit (epoetin alfa) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects »

What is the most important information I should know about epoetin alfa (Procrit)?

You should not use this medication if you have untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure, if you are allergic to epoetin alfa or darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp), or if you have ever had pure red cell aplasia (PRCA, a type of anemia) caused by using either of these two drugs.

Before using epoetin alfa, tell your doctor if you have epilepsy or a history of seizures. Epoetin alfa may cause seizures. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

This medicine can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke. This risk will increase the longer you use epoetin alfa. Epoetin alfa may also shorten remission time or survival time in some people with certain types of cancer. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using epoetin alfa.

Seek emergency medical help if you have symptoms of heart or circulation problems, such as chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, shortness of breath, slurred speech, or problems with vision or balance.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood may need to be tested often. Your blood pressure will also need to be checked. Visit your doctor regularly.

Contact your doctor if you feel weak, light-headed, or short of breath, or if your skin looks pale. These may be signs that your body has stopped responding to epoetin alfa.

Some women using epoetin alfa have started having menstrual periods, even after not having a period for a long time due to a medical condition. You may be able to get pregnant if your periods restart. Talk with your doctor about the need for birth control.

Epoetin alfa is made from human plasma (part of the blood) which may contain viruses and other infectious agents. Donated plasma is tested and treated to reduce the risk of it containing infectious agents, but there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.

Side Effects Centers

Procrit Patient Information including How Should I Take

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using epoetin alfa (Procrit)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to epoetin alfa or darbepoetin alfa or (Aranesp), or if you have:

  • untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure; or
  • if you have ever had pure red cell aplasia (PRCA, a type of anemia) caused by using darbepoetin alfa or epoetin alfa.

To make sure you can safely use epoetin alfa, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • heart disease, congestive heart failure, or high blood pressure (hypertension);
  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • a history of stroke, heart attack, or blood clots;
  • a blood cell or clotting disorder, such as sickle cell anemia or hemophilia;
  • cancer; or
  • epilepsy or another seizure disorder.

Epoetin alfa is made from human plasma (part of the blood) which may contain viruses and other infectious agents. Donated plasma is tested and treated to reduce the risk of it containing infectious agents, but there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether epoetin alfa will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

It is not known whether epoetin alfa passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Some women using epoetin alfa have started having menstrual periods, even after not having a period for a long time due to a medical condition. You may be able to get pregnant if your periods restart. Talk with your doctor about the need to use birth control while you are using epoetin alfa.

Epoetin alfa may shorten remission time in some people with head and neck cancer who are also being treated with radiation. Epoetin alfa may also shorten survival time in certain people with breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, head and neck cancer, cervical cancer, or lymphoid cancer. Talk with your doctor about your individual risk.

How should I use epoetin alfa (Procrit)?

Use exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

Epoetin alfa is injected under the skin or into a vein through an IV. You may be shown how to use an IV at home.

Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.

This medication comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Do not shake the medication bottle or you may ruin the medicine. Prepare your dose in a syringe only when you are ready to give yourself an injection. Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription.

Use a disposable needle only once. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

To be sure this medication is helping your body produce red blood cells, your blood will need to be tested often. You may also need to check your blood pressure during treatment. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using epoetin alfa.

Store in the refrigerator and protect from light. Do not freeze epoetin alfa, and throw away the medication if it has become frozen.

Side Effects Centers

Procrit Patient Information including If I Miss a Dose

What happens if I miss a dose (Procrit)?

Contact your doctor if you miss a dose of epoetin alfa.

What happens if I overdose (Procrit)?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include headache, dizziness, itching (especially after bathing), fullness in your upper stomach, redness of the face, shortness of breath, and vision problems.

What should I avoid while using epoetin alfa (Procrit)?

This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

What other drugs will affect epoetin alfa (Procrit)?

There may be other drugs that can affect epoetin alfa. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about epoetin alfa.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.01. Revision date: 9/19/2011.

Your use of the content provided in this service indicates that you have read,understood and agree to the End-User License Agreement,which can be accessed by clicking on this link.

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Side Effects Centers

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