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Procrit® (epoetin alfa)

Procrit (Epoetin Alfa) is an injectable medication used to treat cancer patients who have chemotherapy-related anemia, anemic chronic kidney disease patients not on dialysis, anemic HIV patients who are undergoing zidovudine therapy, and anemic surgery patients (Procrit reduces the need for transfusions in patients undergoing elective, non-cardiac, nonvascular surgery who are at a significant risk for blood loss).

Why is Procrit prescribed?

Procrit is prescribed for the treatment of anemia in chronic kidney disease patients not on dialysis, anemic cancer patients, anemic HIV patients, and anemic patients undergoing surgery. Procrit elevates and maintains red blood cell levels and decreases the need for transfusions.

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What are the FDA approved uses for Procrit?

Procrit was approved by the FDA in 1989 to stimulate the body to make red blood cells in patients with various forms of anemia.

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What are the side effects of Procrit?

The most common side effects associated with Procrit include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, edema (swelling) and shortness of breath, high blood pressure, headache, joint pain, tingling, and upper respiratory infection.

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Procrit warnings and alerts

In 2006, the FDA notified healthcare professionals of a newly published clinical study showing that patients treated with Procrit are at a significantly increased risk for serious and life threatening cardiovascular complications. Procrit injections 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.

Procrit may also increase the risk of blood clots and seizures. Cases of pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) and of severe anemia have been reported in patients treated with Procrit, predominantly in patients with chronic renal failure receiving Procrit by subcutaneous administration.

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Procrit drug contradictions

Procrit is contraindicated in patients with uncontrolled hypertension and patients who have a history of cardiovascular problems.

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Procrit FAQs

What should I tell my doctor before using Procrit?

Before being administered Procrit, tell your doctor if you have any blood disorders (e.g., sickle cell anemia, white blood cell or platelet problems, or bone marrow problems), heart problems, high blood pressure, seizure disorders, kidney problems, blood vessel problems, allergies, bleeding/clotting problems, and certain vitamin deficiencies (folic acid, vitamin B12).

Have viruses been associated with taking Procrit?

Patients with long-term kidney failure may be at increased risk of seizures during the first 3 months of treatment with Procrit, 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. Drinking alcohol while on Procrit may also increase the risk of seizures.

Have seizures been reported from using Procrit?

Patients with long-term kidney failure may be at increased risk of seizures during the first 3 months of treatment with Procrit, 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. Drinking alcohol while on Procrit may also increase the risk of seizures.

Are there counterfeit products being manufactured under the name of Procrit?

FDA and Ortho Biotech Products alerted healthcare providers and consumers about the existence of three lots of counterfeit product labeled as Procrit (Epoetin Alfa):

P007645 – 40,000 units/mL, Expiration 10-2004
P004677 – 40,000 units/mL, Expiration 02-2004
P004839 – 40,000 units/mL, Expiration 02-2004.

The counterfeit Procrit has been found to be contaminated with bacteria and therefore represents a significant potential hazard to consumers.

Can I file a lawsuit if I have suffered damages from taking Procrit?

Possibly. While all medications have certain, anticipated side effects, a drug manufacturer has a duty to inform physicians adequately regarding the known risks associated with its drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held responsible to patients who are injured as the result of inadequate warnings, under a legal theory known as “product liability.” Depending upon the particular circumstances of your case, damages may include recovery for any of the following:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Emotional distress

If you or a loved one has experienced any health problems while taking Procrit, you should contact your doctor immediately. You may also wish to contact an experienced Procrit lawyer to discuss your legal options. As all legal claims are subject to time limits, however, you may risk forfeiture of your right to financial compensation if you delay.

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