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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Aranesp, Aranesp Albumin Free, Aranesp SureClick

Generic Name: darbepoetin alfa (Pronunciation: DAR be POE e tin AL fa)

What is darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp, Aranesp Albumin Free, Aranesp SureClick)?

Darbepoetin alfa is a man-made form of a protein that helps your body produce red blood cells. The amount of this protein in your body may be reduced when you have kidney failure or use certain medications. When fewer red blood cells are produced, you can develop a condition called anemia.

Darbepoetin alfa is used to treat anemia (a lack of red blood cells in the body).

Darbepoetin alfa may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp, Aranesp Albumin Free, Aranesp SureClick)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Contact your doctor if you feel light-headed or unusually weak or tired. These may be signs that your body has stopped responding to darbepoetin alfa.

Darbepoetin alfa can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke. This risk will increase the longer you use darbepoetin alfa. Seek emergency medical help if you have symptoms of heart or circulation problems, such as:

  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;
  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;
  • swelling, rapid weight gain;
  • sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;
  • sudden severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance; or
  • pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs.

Stop using darbepoetin alfa and call your doctor at once if you have other serious side effects such as:

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • seizure (black-out or convulsions); or
  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • stomach pain;
  • mild cough;
  • mild skin rash or redness; or
  • pain, bruising, swelling, warmth, redness, oozing, or bleeding where the IV needle is placed.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp, Aranesp Albumin Free, Aranesp SureClick)?

You should not use this medication if you have untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure, if you are allergic to darbepoetin alfa or epoetin alfa (Epogen or Procrit), or if you have ever had pure red cell aplasia (PRCA, a type of anemia) caused by using either of these two drugs.

Before using darbepoetin alfa, tell your doctor if you have heart disease, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, kidney disease, a blood cell or clotting disorder, cancer, a seizure disorder, a latex allergy, or a history of stroke, heart attack, or blood clots.

This medicine can increase your risk of life-threatening heart or circulation problems, including heart attack or stroke. This risk will increase the longer you use epoetin alfa. Darbepoetin alfa may also shorten remission time or survival time in some people with certain types of cancer. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using darbepoetin alfa.

Seek emergency medical help if you have symptoms of heart or circulation problems, such as chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, shortness of breath, slurred speech, or problems with vision or balance.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood may need to be tested often. Your blood pressure will also need to be checked. Visit your doctor regularly.

Contact your doctor if you feel light-headed or unusually weak or tired. These may be signs that your body has stopped responding to darbepoetin alfa.

Some women using darbepoetin alfa have started having menstrual periods, even after not having a period for a long time due to a medical condition. You may be able to get pregnant if your periods restart. Talk with your doctor about the need for birth control.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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