Aranesp Warnings and Precautions
Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Aranesp include the following:
- In studies involving people with chronic kidney disease, an increase in risk of death, stroke, and serious cardiovascular reactions (such as heart attacks) was reported when Aranesp was used to target a hemoglobin level (a measure of red blood cells) greater than 11 g/dL. None of the studies that have been completed have identified a hemoglobin target level, Aranesp dose, or dosing strategy that does not increase these risks.
- Your healthcare provider should measure your hemoglobin frequently and adjust your Aranesp dosage so that your hemoglobin does not increase too quickly or too much. However, this will not prevent all cardiovascular problems, and you and your healthcare provider must weigh the potential benefits of Aranesp with these risks.
- Aranesp is not approved to be used before surgery for preventing the need for blood transfusions. Studies have suggested that this use may be dangerous.
- Aranesp may accelerate the worsening of cancer and may shorten survival, particularly when it increases hemoglobin levels too much. This risk must be weighed against the potential benefits of Aranesp.
- Aranesp may cause high blood pressure (hypertension). This can be a problem, especially if you already have high blood pressure. Your healthcare provider should monitor your blood pressure closely while you are taking Aranesp.
- In studies, some people who took Aranesp experienced seizures. If you have a seizure while taking Aranesp, tell your healthcare provider immediately.
- Rarely, people can form antibodies to Aranesp, causing severe anemia. If your anemia worsens while you are taking Aranesp, your healthcare provider should check to see if you are forming these antibodies. In this situation, you may need to stop taking Aranesp permanently.
- Some forms of Aranesp contain albumin, a human blood protein. As with all albumin products, theoretically, there is an extremely small risk of contracting an infection (including very serious infections) from the albumin. However, there are no cases of this ever happening with an albumin product.
- Aranesp has not been studied in people with sickle cell anemia, porphyria, hemolytic anemia, or thalassemia.
- Aranesp is unlikely to interact with other medications (see Aranesp Drug Interactions).
- Aranesp is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using the drug during pregnancy (see Aranesp and Pregnancy).
- It is not known whether Aranesp passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Aranesp and Breastfeeding).