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Retacrit Side Effects

Generic name: epoetin alfa

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 21, 2024.

Note: This document contains side effect information about epoetin alfa. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Retacrit.

Applies to epoetin alfa: injection solution.


Injection route (Solution)

ESAs increase the risk of death, myocardial infarction, stroke, venous thromboembolism, thrombosis of vascular access, and tumor progression or recurrence.Chronic Kidney Disease: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 greater than 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 epoetin alfa-epbx dose sufficient to reduce the need for red blood cell (RBC) transfusions.Cancer:ESAs shortened overall survival and/or increased the risk of tumor progression or recurrence in clinical studies of patients with breast, non-small cell lung, head and neck, lymphoid, and cervical cancers.To decrease these risks, as well as the risk of serious cardiovascular and thromboembolic reactions, use the lowest dose needed to avoid RBC transfusions.Use ESAs only for anemia from myelosuppressive chemotherapy.ESAs are not indicated for patients receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy when the anticipated outcome is cure.Discontinue following the completion of a chemotherapy course.Perisurgery:Due to increased risk of deep venous thrombosis (DVT), DVT prophylaxis is recommended.

Serious side effects of Retacrit

Along with its needed effects, epoetin alfa (the active ingredient contained in Retacrit) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking epoetin alfa:

More common

Less common

Incidence not known

Other side effects of Retacrit

Some side effects of epoetin alfa may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

Less common

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to epoetin alfa: injectable solution.


The most common adverse reaction was dose-dependent increase in blood pressure or aggravation of existing hypertension.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Nausea (up to 56%), diarrhea (up to 30%), vomiting (up to 28%), stomatitis (10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Dysphagia

Frequency not reported: Vomiting[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Pyrexia (up to 42%)

Common (1% to 10%): Chills, influenza-like illness, peripheral edema, artificial kidney clotting during dialysis, edema[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Headache (up to 34%)

Common (1% to 10%): Convulsion, dizziness

Frequency not reported: Cerebrovascular accident, transient ischemic attack[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Hypertension (up to 33%), embolism and thrombosis (up to 15%)

Common (1% to 10%): Deep vein thrombosis, thrombosis

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Myocardial infarction

Frequency not reported: Blood pressure increased, aneurysm[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Cough (up to 26%)

Common (1% to 10%): Respiratory tract congestion, upper respiratory tract infection, pulmonary embolism[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Rash (up to 25%), pruritus (up to 21%)

Common (1% to 10%): Urticaria

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Erythema

Frequency not reported: Angioedema

Postmarketing reports: Severe cutaneous reactions[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Arthralgia (up to 24%), pain in extremity (up to 15%), myalgia (up to 10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Bone pain, muscle spasm

Frequency not reported: Porphyria[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Injection site reaction (up to 18%), injection site pain (up to 13%)

Common (1% to 10%): Vascular access thrombosis[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Hyperkalemia (up to 10%)

Common (1% to 10%): Weight decrease, hyperglycemia, hypokalemia[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Insomnia, depression[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Leukopenia

Postmarketing reports: Erythropoietin antibody-mediated pure red cell aplasia, thrombocytopenia[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Anaphylactic reaction, hypersensitivity

Postmarketing reports: Serious allergic reaction[Ref]

Frequently asked questions


1. (2002) "Product Information. Epogen (epoetin alfa)." Amgen

2. (2002) "Product Information. Procrit (epoetin alfa)." Ortho Biotech Inc

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics."

4. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information."

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.