Methoxy Polyethylene Glycol-Epoetin Beta
Medically reviewed on March 25, 2018
(meth OX ee pol i ETH i leen GLY kol e POE e tin BAY ta)
- Continuous Erythropoietin Receptor Activator
- Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agent (ESA)
- Methoxy Peg-Epoetin Beta
Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.
Solution, Injection [preservative free]:
Mircera: 50 mcg/0.3 mL (0.3 mL); 75 mcg/0.3 mL (0.3 mL); 100 mcg/0.3 mL (0.3 mL); 200 mcg/0.3 mL (0.3 mL)
Solution Prefilled Syringe, Injection [preservative free]:
Mircera: 30 mcg/0.3 mL (0.3 mL); 50 mcg/0.3 mL (0.3 mL); 75 mcg/0.3 mL (0.3 mL); 100 mcg/0.3 mL (0.3 mL); 150 mcg/0.3 mL (0.3 mL); 200 mcg/0.3 mL (0.3 mL)
Brand Names: U.S.
- Colony Stimulating Factor
- Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agent (ESA)
- Hematopoietic Agent
Methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta is an erythropoietin receptor activator; erythropoietin is a primary growth factor for erythroid development and is produced in the kidney and released into the bloodstream in response to hypoxia. In response to hypoxia, erythropoietin interacts with erythroid progenitor cells to increase red blood cell production.
Onset of Action
Hemoglobin increase (following a single initial dose): 7 to 15 days
Time to Peak
SubQ: 72 hours
IV: 134 ± 65 hours
SubQ: 139 ± 67 hours
Use: Labeled Indications
Anemia: Treatment of anemia associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in adult patients on dialysis and patients not on dialysis.
Limitations of use: Not indicated and is not recommended in the treatment of anemia due to cancer chemotherapy or as a substitute for red blood cell (RBC) transfusions in patients who require immediate correction of anemia; has not been shown to improve symptoms, physical functioning or health-related quality of life.
Severe hypersensitivity to methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta (eg, anaphylactic reactions, angioedema, bronchospasm, skin rash, and urticaria); pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) that begins after treatment with methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta or other erythropoietin protein drugs; uncontrolled hypertension
Note: Evaluate iron status before and during treatment and maintain iron repletion.
Anemia associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD): Individualize dosing and use the lowest dose necessary to reduce the need for RBC transfusions:
Patients not currently taking an ESA:
Chronic kidney disease patients on dialysis (IV route is preferred for hemodialysis patients; initiate treatment when hemoglobin <10 g/dL): Initial: IV, SubQ: 0.6 mcg/kg once every 2 weeks. Reduce dose or interrupt treatment if hemoglobin approaches or exceeds 11 g/dL. After hemoglobin stabilizes, may administer once monthly with a dose that is double the dose administered every 2 weeks; titrate as necessary.
Chronic kidney disease patients NOT on dialysis (consider initiating treatment when hemoglobin <10 g/dL and the rate of hemoglobin decline would likely result in RBC transfusion and goal is to reduce risk of alloimmunization or other RBC transfusion-related risks): Initial: IV, SubQ: 0.6 mcg/kg once every 2 weeks. Reduce dose or interrupt treatment if hemoglobin exceeds 10 g/dL. After hemoglobin stabilizes, may administer once monthly with a dose that is double the dose administered every 2 weeks; titrate as necessary.
Patients converting from epoetin alfa or darbepoetin alfa: IV, SubQ: Based on total weekly ESA dose at the time of conversion (if hemoglobin is stabilized):
For epoetin alfa dose <8,000 units/week or darbepoetin alfa dose <40 mcg/week: Administer methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta 120 mcg once monthly or 60 mcg every 2 weeks.
For epoetin alfa dose 8,000 to 16,000 units/week or darbepoetin alfa dose 40 to 80 mcg/week: Administer methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta 200 mcg once monthly or 100 mcg every 2 weeks.
For epoetin alfa dose >16,000 units/week or darbepoetin alfa dose >80 mcg/week: Administer methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta 360 mcg once monthly or 180 mcg every 2 weeks.
Dosage adjustments for all CKD patients: Do not increase dose more frequently than every 4 weeks (dose decreases may occur more often); avoid frequent dosage adjustments.
If hemoglobin increases >1 g/dL in any 2-week period: Decrease dose by ≥25% as needed to reduce rapid responses.
If hemoglobin does not increase by >1 g/dL after 4 weeks of therapy: Increase dose by 25%.
Inadequate or lack of response over 12 weeks of therapy: If adequate response is not achieved after 12 weeks of therapy, further increases are unlikely to be of benefit and may increase the risk for adverse events; use the minimum effective dose that will maintain a hemoglobin level sufficient to avoid red blood cell transfusions and evaluate patient for other causes of anemia. Discontinue treatment if responsiveness does not improve.
Refer to adult dosing; initiate at the lower end of dosing ranges.
Dosing: Renal Impairment
There are no dosage adjustments provided in the manufacturer’s labeling; however, methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta is indicated for use in patients with chronic kidney disease.
Dosing: Hepatic Impairment
No dosage adjustment necessary.
Dosing: Adjustment for Toxicity
Serious allergic/anaphylactic reactions: Discontinue immediately (and permanently).
Hypertension (difficult to control): Reduce dose or withhold treatment (use is contraindicated in uncontrolled hypertension).
Pure red cell aplasia (PRCA): Permanently discontinue treatment.
Available in single-use, prefilled syringes: Discard any unused portion. Do not pool unused portions from the prefilled syringes. Do not use the prefilled syringe more than 1 time. Avoid vigorous shaking or prolonged exposure to light. Do not mix with any parenteral solution.
Administer intravenously (IV) or subcutaneously (SubQ).
For administration using the prefilled syringe, the plunger must be fully depressed during injection to activate the needle guard. Following administration, remove the needle from the injection site and release the plunger to allow the needle guard to move up until the entire needle is covered.
SubQ: Inject in the abdomen, arm, or thigh.
Store at 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F); may store at temperatures up to 25°C (77°F) for no more than 30 days. Do not freeze. Protect from light. Keep in the original package until use. Do not shake.
Lenalidomide: Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents may enhance the thrombogenic effect of Lenalidomide. Monitor therapy
Nandrolone: May enhance the stimulatory effect of Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents. Specifically, nandrolone may enhance the erythropoiesis stimulatory effect of Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents. Monitor therapy
Pomalidomide: Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents may enhance the thrombogenic effect of Pomalidomide. Monitor therapy
Thalidomide: Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents may enhance the thrombogenic effect of Thalidomide. Monitor therapy
Neutralizing antibody assay: Obtain serum samples at least a month after the last dose to prevent assay interference.
Cardiovascular: Exacerbation of hypertension (27%), hypertension (13%)
Gastrointestinal: Diarrhea (11%)
Respiratory: Nasopharyngitis (11%)
1% to 10%:
Cardiovascular: Procedural hypotension (8%), arteriovenous fistula site complication (5%), hypotension (5%), thrombosis (5%; arteriovenous fistula)
Central nervous system: Headache (9%)
Endocrine & metabolic: Hypervolemia (7%)
Gastrointestinal: Vomiting (6%), constipation (5%), gastrointestinal hemorrhage (1%)
Genitourinary: Urinary tract infection (5%)
Hematologic & oncologic: Hemorrhage (5%)
Neuromuscular & skeletal: Muscle spasm (8%), back pain (6%), limb pain (5%)
Respiratory: Upper respiratory tract infection (9%), cough (6%)
<1%, postmarketing, and/or case reports: Anaphylaxis, angioedema, bronchospasm, hypertensive encephalopathy, pruritus, pure red cell aplasia, seizure, severe anemia, skin rash, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, tachycardia, toxic epidermal necrolysis, urticaria
Concerns related to adverse effects:
• Allergic reactions: Serious allergic reactions (including anaphylactic reactions angioedema, bronchospasm, tachycardia, pruritus, rash, and urticaria) have been reported. Discontinue immediately (and permanently) in patients who experience serious allergic/anaphylactic reactions.
• Cardiovascular events: In controlled studies of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) comparing higher hemoglobin targets (13 to 14 g/dL) to lower targets (9 to 11.3 g/dL), erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) increased the risk of death, MI, stroke, heart failure, hemodialysis vascular access thrombosis, and other thromboembolic events in the higher hemoglobin target groups. Using ESAs to target a hemoglobin >11 g/dL does not demonstrate additional benefit and may also contribute to these risks. Use with caution in patient with a current or a history of cardiovascular disease and stroke. A rate of hemoglobin rise of >1 g/dL over 2 weeks may also contribute to cardiovascular risks. In controlled studies of patients with cancer, ESAs increased the risk of death and cardiovascular reactions (including MI and stroke). Patients with cancer treated with ESAs have in increased incidence of thromboembolic events; may be serious or life-threatening. In controlled studies, ESAs increased the risk of death in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery and increased the risk of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in patients undergoing orthopedic procedures.
• Hypertension: In studies of methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta in patients with CKD, intensification of antihypertensive therapy was required in over one-fourth of patients. Hypertensive encephalopathy and/or seizures have been reported. Blood pressure should be controlled prior to treatment initiation and during therapy. Reduce or withhold treatment if blood pressure becomes difficult to control. Use is contraindicated in uncontrolled hypertension. Patients should comply with antihypertensive therapy and dietary restrictions.
• Pure red cell aplasia (PRCA): Although not observed in clinical studies, postmarketing cases of severe anemia and PRCA (with or without other cytopenias) have been reported with methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta, arising following the development of neutralizing antibodies to erythropoietin. PRCA reports associated with ESAs have been predominantly in patients with CKD receiving subQ administration. Cases have also been reported in patients with hepatitis C who were receiving ESAs for anemia. Withhold the dose and evaluate for neutralizing antibodies to erythropoietin in patients with severe anemia and a low reticulocyte count during treatment (obtain serum samples at least a month after the last dose to prevent assay interference). Discontinue treatment (permanently) in patients who develop PRCA (to any ESA); antibodies may cross-react; do not switch to another ESA.
• Seizures: Seizures have been observed in studies with methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta. Monitor closely for premonitory neurologic symptoms during the first several months after treatment initiation. Patients should be advised to contact health care provider if seizures occur (new -onset or change in frequency), orf for premonitory symptoms.
• Cancer: [US Boxed Warning]: Methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta is not indicated and is not recommended for the treatment of anemia due to cancer chemotherapy. A dose-ranging study was terminated early due to increased deaths among patients receiving methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta than another ESA. ESAs have demonstrated shortened overall survival and/or increased the risk of tumor progression or recurrence in studies in patients with breast, non-small cell lung, head and neck, lymphoid, and cervical cancers. Methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta is not approved and is not recommend for use in the treatment of anemia due to cancer chemotherapy. ESA use is associated with decreased locoregional control, progression free survival and/or overall survival.
• Chronic kidney disease: [US Boxed Warning]: In controlled trials, patients experienced greater risks for death, serious adverse cardiovascular reactions, and stroke when administered erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) to target a hemoglobin level of >11 g/dL. No trial has identified a hemoglobin target level, ESA dose, or dosing strategy that does not increase these risks. Use the lowest dose sufficient to reduce the need for red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. Evaluate the benefit of decreasing transfusions against the risk of death or other serious cardiovascular events. May reduce dialysis efficacy (due to increase in red blood cells and decrease in plasma volume); adjustments in dialysis parameters may be needed. Patients may require increased heparinization during dialysis to prevent clotting of the extracorporeal circuit.
• Perisurgical patients: Methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta is not approved for reduction in allogeneic red blood cell transfusions in patients scheduled for surgical procedures. An increased incidence of DVT has been observed in patients treated with epoetin alfa undergoing surgical orthopedic procedures. Increased mortality was observed in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery who received epoetin alfa.
• Appropriate use: Evaluate iron status (eg, transferrin saturation and serum ferritin) prior to and during treatment; maintain iron repletion. Correct (or exclude) other causes of anemia (eg, vitamin deficiency, metabolic or chronic inflammatory conditions, bleeding) prior to treatment initiation. When adjusting therapy, consider rate of hemoglobin change, ESA responsiveness, and hemoglobin variability; a single hemoglobin level excursion may not require dosage alteration. For lack or loss of hemoglobin response, evaluate patient for causative factors (eg, iron deficiency, infection, inflammation, bleeding); if typical causes are excluded, evaluate for PRCA. If PRCA is excluded, follow dosing recommendation for insufficient response.
Hemoglobin levels (at least weekly until stable, then at least monthly); iron stores (transferrin saturation and serum ferritin) at baseline and during therapy; premonitory neurologic symptoms of seizures, blood pressure
Pregnancy Risk Factor
Adverse events were observed in some animal reproduction studies.
• Discuss specific use of drug and side effects with patient as it relates to treatment. (HCAHPS: During this hospital stay, were you given any medicine that you had not taken before? Before giving you any new medicine, how often did hospital staff tell you what the medicine was for? How often did hospital staff describe possible side effects in a way you could understand?)
• Patient may experience diarrhea, rhinitis, or pharyngitis. Have patient report immediately to prescriber signs of severe cerebrovascular disease (change in strength on one side is greater than the other, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, or change in eyesight), signs of DVT (edema, warmth, numbness, change in color, or pain in the extremities), severe dizziness, passing out, angina, shortness of breath, excessive weight gain, swelling of arms or legs, cold extremities, pale skin, severe headache, coughing up blood, tachycardia, loss of strength and energy, seizures, abnormal gait, change in balance, wheezing, or signs of Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis (red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin [with or without fever]; red or irritated eyes; or sores in mouth, throat, nose, or eyes) (HCAHPS).
• Educate patient about signs of a significant reaction (eg, wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat). Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Patient should consult prescriber for additional questions.
Intended Use and Disclaimer: Should not be printed and given to patients. This information is intended to serve as a concise initial reference for health care professionals to use when discussing medications with a patient. You must ultimately rely on your own discretion, experience, and judgment in diagnosing, treating, and advising patients.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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Other brands: Mircera