darbepoetin alfa (cont.)
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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp, Aranesp Albumin Free, Aranesp SureClick)?
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to darbepoetin alfa or epoetin alfa (Epogen or Procrit), or if you have:
To make sure you can safely take darbepoetin alfa, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether darbepoetin alfa will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
It is not known whether darbepoetin alfa passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
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 to use birth control while you are using darbepoetin alfa.
Darbepoetin alfa may shorten remission time in some people with head and neck cancer who are also being treated with radiation. Darbepoetin alfa may also shorten survival time in certain people with breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, head and neck cancer, cervical cancer, or lymphoid cancer. Talk with your doctor about your individual risk.
How should I use darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp, Aranesp Albumin Free, Aranesp SureClick)?
Use exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.
Darbepoetin alfa is injected under the skin or into a vein. You may be shown how to use an IV at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.
Do not shake the medication bottle or you may ruin the medicine. Prepare your dose in a syringe only when you are ready to give yourself an injection. Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription.
Use a disposable needle only once. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
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.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using darbepoetin alfa.
Store in the refrigerator and protect from light. Do not freeze darbepoetin alfa, and throw away the medication if it has become frozen.
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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