Epogen (Epoetin alfa)
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Epogen is a kind of protein that is manmade and aids in generating red blood cells. If your kidney does not function properly or certain drugs have reduced the count, then Epogen is administered to fight anemia. HIV and cancer patients are also given Epogen so the body can sustain as much normalcy while undergoing severe treatments to fight the disease. However Epogen should be carefully administered as people with high blood pressure, epilepsy or red cell aplasia may be allergic to it. In case the consumption of Epogen leads to pains in the chest, shoulders or arms, slurred speech or shortness of breath, consult your doctor immediately. Also get your blood tested a good number of times to see if the consumption of Epogen is helping you. In general, use the drug Epogen with caution and keep your doctor informed of all developments.
Epoetin alfa should not be used as an emergency solution if you feel you have anemia. Epogen has not shown results in improving fatigue, wellbeing or quality of life. Unsupervised usage of the drug Epoetin alfa can lead to death. For those patients who are taking Epogen, you will notice that your doctor has prescribed the smallest doses that will cut down the chances of you undergoing an unnecessary blood transfusion. Epogen often leads to the heightening of hemoglobin levels in the body so there are chances that you may suffer a heart attack, heart failure or stroke upon the taking of Epogen. So ensure Epogen is being taken only under strict medical supervision.
There have also been reports of blood clots developing after the intake of Epoetin alfa. If you have a surgery lined up in the near future, ask your doctor if you require a blood thinner so that the number of blood clots can be reduced while the surgery is ongoing or after it has been completed. The signs of developing blood clots include chest pain, swelling in the limbs, and trouble in breathing, paler skin, speech troubles, sudden weakness, dizziness, fainting and also trouble seeing things.
When You Should Not Take Epogen
Do not take Epogen if you have cancer and your healthcare provider has warned you about the use of this protein already. Those suffering from uncontrolled hypertension, Pure Red Cell Aplasia or having strong allergic reactions to other drugs in general should also be wary about the intake of Epogen. Of course, pregnant women, babies and breastfeeding women should also refrain from the consumption of the synthetic protein present in Epogen.
How to Use Epogen
Do not alter the dose of your Epogen and use it exactly like your doctor asks you to. Smaller doses of Epogen are as pointless and damaging as larger doses of it. Also make sure you do not take it for longer than you have been asked to and follow the directions on the prescription level down to the t. Your doctor will know best when to alter the dosage. Epoetin alfa is given to patients through an IV that is injected under the skin and attached to the vein. If you have to administer it to yourself, you can ask the doctor to show you how to use the IV on your own, but if you are doubtful about how to go about the process, do not risk injecting yourself.
Handle the bottle of Epogen with care because it may get contaminated if you do not. Watch out for discoloration of the solution and growth of particles before you use the Epogen because then it is not fit to be used. Use disposable needles while injecting Epogen, and use them only once making sure that you dispose them carefully. Keep Epogen away from the reach of children and pet animals. Monitor your blood pressure levels and the count of red blood cells via frequent tests. Be sure you do not miss appointments with your doctor when it comes to checking Epogen. Keep the solution in the refrigerator and away from sunlight. Also if refrigeration leads to the solution freezing then throw it away and get a new one instead.
If you miss a dose of Epogen, contact your doctor immediately. On the other hand, if you overdose, call for emergency medical attention or poison help by dialing 1-800-222-1222. If you have to drive to some place after you have taken Epogen, give yourself some time because the drug tends to impair your reaction time and thinking process right after it has been administered.
There are common and serious side effects of Epogen so keep a watch over your body and seek attention accordingly. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or plan to get pregnant in the near future, keep your healthcare provider informed. The common side effects of Epogen include pain in the joints, bones and muscles, fever, rashes, cough, vomiting, nausea, itching, headaches, redness of the skin, soreness in and around the mouth area. These side effects usually go away soon but if they do not, please inform your doctor so he gives you a solution to the problem.
The serious side effects of Epogen include:
Seizures - This is a serious side effect of taking Epogen and you should get immediate medical help.
High blood pressure - A common problem in patients who take Epogen, especially if they have a chronic kidney problem. Upon taking the drug, your blood pressure may shoot up or be difficult to keep under control. In fact, this often happens even if you have not had blood pressure problems before. Keep your doctor in the loop.
Severe allergic reactions - Intense allergic reactions to Epogen include rashes across the body, dizziness, shortness of breath, wheezing and fainting. Breaking into a sweat is also a side effect, so stop Epoetin alfa instantly and contact your doctor.
Antibodies - Epogen causes your body to release antibodies that try to block the body's ability to produce red blood cells and prevent you from suffering from anemia. If Epogen makes you tired or lose energy, it needs to be brought to the attention of your doctor.
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