Aranesp® (Darbepoetin Alfa)

Aranesp®

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Important Safety Information

Aranesp® (darbepoetin alfa) is a prescription infusion medication used to treat patients with anemia due to chronic kidney disease or chemotherapy. The needle cover on the prefilled syringe contains latex. Therefore, if you’re allergic to this material, talk to your doctor about alternative options.

Aranesp increases the risk of blood clots. This may pose complications — especially if you are scheduled for surgery. Discuss with your healthcare providers whether you should be taking blood thinners in conjunction with treatment.

What is the most important information I should know about Aranesp?

Certain cancerous tumors may grow at a faster rate while undergoing treatment, including breast, cervical, lung, head, neck, and lymphoid. Talk with your doctor about your medical history and specific healthcare needs to discuss your options.

Patients with chronic kidney disease may experience high blood pressure — even if you’ve never had a history of hypertension. Therefore, your blood pressure should be monitored regularly while undergoing treatment with Aranesp.

Do not take Aranesp if you have cancer and your doctor hasn’t specifically recommended this medication for you. You should also avoid treatment if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure or a history of pure red cell aplasia (PRCA), heart disease, seizures, or stroke.

Side Effects of Aranesp

As with any prescription medication, Aranesp carries a risk of side effects. The most common ones include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling of the arms or legs
  • Low blood pressure during dialysis

Some side effects may be serious enough to be life-threatening — especially in cancer patients. Some of the most serious ones include:

  • Serious allergic reactions
  • Severe skin reactions
  • Numbness or weakness in your face, arms, and/or legs
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Antibodies
  • Seizures
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Confusion
  • Speech difficulties
  • Trouble understanding other people when they speak
  • Fainting

Seek emergency care immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms or signs of an allergic reaction. These include skin rash, itching, dizziness, shortness of breath, or swelling of your face, tongue, and lips, and could place your life at risk.

Tell your doctor if you experience any negative side effects. You are also encouraged to report such side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by visiting www.fda.gov/medwatch, or by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.

Indications

Aranesp has not been proven to improve quality of life. It should not be used to treat anemia if you have cancer and will not be receiving chemotherapy for at least two months. The medication should also be avoided if you have a type of cancer with a high probability of being cured.

Please refer to the full prescribing information.