Aranesp injection contains the active ingredient darbepoetin alfa, which is a synthetic version of the naturally-occurring hormone erythropoietin. Erythropoietin is produced by healthy kidneys. It stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body.
Darbepoetin alfa is used to treat anaemia in people with chronic kidney failure who are undergoing dialysis, and in people with impaired kidney function who do not yet need dialysis. These people produce very little erythropoietin as a result of their kidney disease, so the number of red blood cells in their blood is low (anaemia). When darbepoetin alfa is injected, it stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells, and this corrects the anaemia.
Darbepoetin alfa is also used to treat anaemia in adults with cancer who are receiving chemotherapy. Chemotherapy often kills normal healthy cells such as red blood cells, as well as the cancer cells. Darbepoetin alfa stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells and this treats the anaemia and reduces the chances of needing a blood transfusion.
Aranesp is given by injection into a vein (intravenously) to treat anaemia in people having kidney dialysis. The injection is administered under the skin (subcutaneously) to treat anaemia in cancer patients and kidney patients who are not having dialysis.
Your doctor may also prescribe you iron supplements while you are receiving this medicine so that the body has adequate iron stores for producing new red blood cells.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
This medicine is not known to affect other medicines. However, it is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while you are having treatment with this one, to ensure that the combination is safe.
This medicine may theoretically affect the blood level of the immunosuppressant medicines ciclosporin and tacrolimus.
If you are having haemodialysis to treat kidney failure you may need an increased dose of heparin while using this medicine. This is because darbepoetin increases the volume of cells in the blood and may therefore increase the risk of blood clotting in the dialysis system.
There are currently no other medicines available in the UK that contain darbepoetin alfa as the active ingredient.