Relevant BNF section: 9.1.3
Anaemia is common in people with cancer, and may reduce their quality of life1 and life expectancy.2 Blood transfusion can increase haemoglobin levels but is usually reserved for those with moderate anaemia (haemoglobin level below 10g/dL).3 A potential alternative is treatment with one of the human recombinant forms of erythropoietin, epoetin alfa (Eprex - Janssen-Cilag) or epoetin beta (NeoRecormon - Roche), or their hyperglycosylated derivative ▼darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp - Amgen). These products have improved the management of patients with chronic renal failure who are anaemic.4 Here we assess the place of the epoetins and darbepoetin alfa in managing anaemia in patients with cancer.
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