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.
Procrit is used to treat anemia (a lack of red blood cells in the body) in patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Procrit is also used to treat anemia caused by zidovudine in HIV-infected patients and in certain patients receiving chemotherapy.
Use Procrit 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.
Procrit 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 Procrit 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.
Procrit 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 Procrit 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 Procrit.
Store Procrit in the refrigerator and protect from light. Do not freeze Procrit, and throw away the medication if it has become frozen.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Procrit: 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.
Procrit can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke. This risk will increase the longer you use Procrit.
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 Procrit 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 Procrit 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.