Clinical and Economic Considerations for the Use of Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents

Michael Marlon Mohundro, PharmD; and Ann McMahon Wicker, PharmD, BCPS
Published: Friday, Mar 04, 2011
Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) are genetically engineered forms of erythropoietin that stimulate erythropoiesis through direct or indirect action on the erythropoietin receptor producing an increase in reticulocyte count, hemoglobin (Hb), and hematocrit levels.1,2The first recombinant human erythropoietin was introduced in the United States in 1989.3,4Currently, there are 3 available ESAs—epoetin alfa (Epogen, Procrit) and darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp). The use of ESAs has been associated with a reduced need for blood transfusion, reduction in the frequency and severity of anemia-associated morbidity, and improvement in quality of life.2,4
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