Epoetin alfa is a prescription medicine used to treat anemia caused by zidovudine (an HIV medication), chemotherapy in people with cancer, or chronic kidney failure. It can also be used to prevent blood transfusions in people with anemia who are undergoing surgery. The medicine is either injected under the skin or given by IV. Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.
- Preventing the need for blood transfusions in people with anemia who are undergoing surgery
- Treating anemia caused by zidovudine (Retrovir®, Combivir®, Trizivir®), an HIV medication
- Treating anemia due to chronic kidney failure (renal failure)
- Treating anemia caused by chemotherapy in people with cancer.
As with any medicine, side effects are possible with epoetin alfa. However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects of epoetin alfa include but are not limited to:
- Pain, redness, or irritation at the injection site.
(Click Side Effects of Epoetin Alfa to learn more, including potentially serious side effects that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)