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Erythropoietin (EPO)- Darbepoetin alpha (Aranesp) and Epoetin Alpha

EPO medications work by stimulating erythropoiesis in the body. Erythropoiesis is the process that encourages the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells. It also works by increasing the hemoglobin levels in our blood to allow us to carry more oxygen to different tissues within the body.

People taking this medication should monitor their hemoglobin levels and red blood cell count on a frequent basis. While taking Aranesp medication, there is the possibility that blood clots may form within the blood vessels of the body. Talk to your healthcare provider about taking blood thinners or if you experience symptoms of chest pain, trouble seeing, pain or swelling in your legs, numbness or weakness on side of the body, and shortness of breath.

Your physician and pharmacist will consult with you which EPO medication you should take depending on your kidney function and medical conditions.

Here is a helpful handout from BC Renal Agency to help you learn about this medication!