Medically reviewed on July 4, 2018
- People with high hemoglobin levels had a higher chance of blood clots, like heart attack and stroke, and death with this medicine (epoetin alfa vials). Talk with the doctor.
- People with some types of cancer have died sooner when using this medicine (epoetin alfa vials). This medicine also raised the chance of tumor growth and the tumor happening again in these people. Talk with the doctor.
- Your doctor will need to watch your blood cell counts and follow you closely to change the dose to match your body's needs. Talk with your doctor.
- If you will be having surgery, talk with your doctor. You may need to take another drug to keep you from getting blood clots while you get this medicine (epoetin alfa vials).
Uses of Epoetin Alfa Vials:
- It is used to treat anemia.
- It is used to help avoid the need for blood transfusions.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Epoetin Alfa Vials?
- If you have an allergy to epoetin alfa or any other part of this medicine (epoetin alfa vials).
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you have high blood pressure.
- If you have a kind of anemia called Pure Red Cell Aplasia (PRCA).
- If you are pregnant or may be pregnant. Do not use this medicine (epoetin alfa vials) if you are pregnant.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take this medicine (epoetin alfa vials) and for 2 weeks after your last dose.
- If the patient is a premature baby or a newborn. Do not give this form of this medicine (epoetin alfa vials) to a premature baby or a newborn.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this medicine (epoetin alfa vials).
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this medicine (epoetin alfa vials) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Epoetin Alfa Vials?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take this medicine (epoetin alfa vials). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- This medicine is made from human plasma (part of the blood) and may have viruses that may cause disease. This medicine is screened, tested, and treated to lower the chance that it carries an infection. Talk with the doctor.
- High blood pressure has happened with this medicine (epoetin alfa vials). Have your blood pressure checked as you have been told by your doctor.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine has benzyl alcohol in it. Benzyl alcohol may cause very bad and sometimes deadly side effects in newborns or infants. Talk with the doctor.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this medicine (epoetin alfa vials) while you are pregnant.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
How is this medicine (Epoetin Alfa Vials) best taken?
Use this medicine (epoetin alfa vials) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- It is given as a shot into the fatty part of the skin.
- It may be given as a shot into a vein.
- To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
- Keep using this medicine (epoetin alfa vials) as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
- If you will be giving yourself the shot, your doctor or nurse will teach you how to give the shot.
- Follow how to use as you have been told by the doctor or read the package insert.
- Do not shake.
- Do not use if it has been shaken.
- Wash your hands before and after use.
- Do not use if the solution is cloudy, leaking, or has particles.
- Do not use if solution changes color.
- Do not use if it has been frozen.
- Do not give into red or irritated skin.
- Throw away needles in a needle/sharp disposal box. Do not reuse needles or other items. When the box is full, follow all local rules for getting rid of it. Talk with a doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Call your doctor to find out what to do.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of high blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
- Signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
- Signs of low potassium levels like muscle pain or weakness, muscle cramps, or a heartbeat that does not feel normal.
- Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
- Shortness of breath, a big weight gain, or swelling in the arms or legs.
- Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
- Feeling confused.
- Swelling, warmth, numbness, change of color, or pain in a leg or arm.
- Cool or pale arm or leg.
- Coughing up blood.
- Trouble walking.
- Dizziness or passing out.
- Sweating a lot.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Pale skin.
- Trouble swallowing.
- A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
What are some other side effects of Epoetin Alfa Vials?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Irritation where the shot is given.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Bone, joint, or muscle pain.
- Muscle spasm.
- Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
- Weight loss.
- Not able to sleep.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Epoetin Alfa Vials?
- Store in a refrigerator. Do not freeze.
- Protect from light.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
- Throw away any part not used after use.
- Throw away any part not used 3 weeks after first use.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time this medicine (epoetin alfa vials) is refilled. If you have any questions about this medicine (epoetin alfa vials), please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about epoetin alfa
- Epoetin alfa Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- En Español
- 7 Reviews
- Drug class: recombinant human erythropoietins