Darbepoetin alfa (albumin)

Pronunciation

Generic Name: darbepoetin alfa (albumin) (dar-be-POE-e-tin AL-fa al-BUE-min)
Brand Name: Aranesp

Clinical studies have shown darbepoetin alfa (albumin) to increase the risk of serious side effects (eg, blood clots, stroke, heart attack, heart failure) and death in some cases. It has also been shown to increase the risk of tumor growth in patients with advanced cancer. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using darbepoetin alfa (albumin). Do not use more than the recommended dose without checking with your doctor.


Darbepoetin alfa (albumin) is used for:

Treating anemia in patients with chronic kidney failure or certain types of cancers. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Darbepoetin alfa (albumin) is similar to the natural protein human erythropoietin. It works by stimulating the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells. An increased number of red blood cells may reduce symptoms of anemia.

Do NOT use darbepoetin alfa (albumin) if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in darbepoetin alfa (albumin) or similar medicines (eg, erythropoietin)
  • you are allergic to products made from mammalian cells
  • you have uncontrolled or severe high blood pressure, or you have certain red blood cell problems (eg, certain types of aplasia)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using darbepoetin alfa (albumin):

Some medical conditions may interact with darbepoetin alfa (albumin). Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have low levels of vitamin B or folic acid in your blood
  • if you have a blood disease (eg, hemolytic anemia, porphyria, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia)
  • if you have high blood pressure, heart problems (eg, congestive heart failure), blood in your stools, seizures, recent infection or injury, cancer, certain bone problems (eg, osteofibrosis cystica), or inflammatory conditions (eg, bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis)

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with darbepoetin alfa (albumin). Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines.

Ask your health care provider if darbepoetin alfa (albumin) may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use darbepoetin alfa (albumin):

Use darbepoetin alfa (albumin) as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Darbepoetin alfa (albumin) comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get darbepoetin alfa (albumin) refilled.
  • Darbepoetin alfa (albumin) is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using darbepoetin alfa (albumin) at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use darbepoetin alfa (albumin). Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not use darbepoetin alfa (albumin) if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • Do not shake darbepoetin alfa (albumin).
  • Do not dilute or mix darbepoetin alfa (albumin) with any other solutions or medicines.
  • Discard any unused portion of medicine left in the vial or syringe.
  • Use only disposable syringes and needles. Use the syringes and needles only once and dispose of them in a puncture-proof container as instructed by your health care provider.
  • Choose a new site each time you inject darbepoetin alfa (albumin). Do not inject into an area that is tender, red, bruised, hard, swollen, or has scars or stretch marks.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of darbepoetin alfa (albumin), use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use darbepoetin alfa (albumin).

Important safety information:

  • Darbepoetin alfa (albumin) may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use darbepoetin alfa (albumin) with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • The risk of serious side effects may be greater is you use darbepoetin alfa (albumin) in high doses. Do NOT use more than the recommended dose without checking with your doctor.
  • It is important to keep your blood pressure under control during treatment with darbepoetin alfa (albumin). Do not stop taking any of your blood pressure medicines without checking with your doctor. Closely follow your doctor's instructions for diet and blood pressure monitoring.
  • Darbepoetin alfa (albumin) has albumin in it, which comes from human blood. There is an extremely rare risk of developing a viral disease, or a central nervous system disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. No cases of viral disease or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from albumin have been identified.
  • It may take 2 to 6 weeks for darbepoetin alfa (albumin) to work. If your symptoms do not improve or they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Lab tests, including blood pressure, blood cell counts, kidney function, blood electrolyte levels, and blood iron levels, will be performed while you use darbepoetin alfa (albumin). These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Darbepoetin alfa (albumin) should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN with chronic kidney failure younger than 1 year old or children with cancer; safety and effectiveness in these CHILDREN have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using darbepoetin alfa (albumin) while you are pregnant. It is not known if darbepoetin alfa (albumin) is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use darbepoetin alfa (albumin), check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of darbepoetin alfa (albumin):

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; cough; diarrhea; dizziness; headache; muscle, joint, back, or stomach pain; nausea or vomiting; pain, swelling, irritation, redness, or bruising at the injection site; unusual tiredness or weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blurred vision or vision changes; chest pain; confusion; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; flu-like symptoms (chills, fever, sore throat); one-sided weakness; redness, tenderness, or swelling of the calf; seizures; severe diarrhea, dizziness, headache, stomach pain, or vomiting; severe or persistent tiredness or weakness; slurred speech; sudden pain or numbness of an arm or leg; sudden shortness of breath; swelling of the arms or legs.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of darbepoetin alfa (albumin):

Store darbepoetin alfa (albumin) in the refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not freeze. Protect from light. Do not use past the expiration date on the vial or prefilled syringe. When traveling, transport darbepoetin alfa (albumin) in the original carton in a cool carrier with a coolant, such as blue ice. To avoid freezing, be sure the medicine does not touch the coolant. Once you arrive, place the medicine in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Keep darbepoetin alfa (albumin) out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about darbepoetin alfa (albumin), please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Darbepoetin alfa (albumin) is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about darbepoetin alfa (albumin). If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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