Cancer Home > Procrit Warnings and Precautions
To help ensure safe treatment with Procrit, warnings and precautions for the drug should be discussed with a healthcare provider. Before taking the drug, tell your healthcare provider if you have epilepsy, heart disease, or porphyria. Procrit warnings and precautions also extend to those who are allergic to any components of the medicine, are allergic to mammalian cell-derived products, or have uncontrolled high blood pressure.
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Heart disease
- A history of heart attack, blood clot, or stroke
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Procrit include the following:
- In studies of people with chronic kidney disease, an increase in risk of death, stroke, and serious cardiovascular reactions (such as heart attacks) was reported when Procrit 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, Procrit dose, or dosing strategy that does not increase these risks.
- Your healthcare provider should measure your hemoglobin frequently and adjust your Procrit 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 Procrit against these risks.
- The multi-dose Procrit vials contain benzyl alcohol, which can cause problems in premature infants. The single-dose vials do not contain benzyl alcohol.
- The medication 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 Procrit.
- Procrit 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 the drug.
- In studies, some people who took Procrit experienced seizures. If you have a seizure while taking the drug, tell your healthcare provider immediately.
- In rare cases, people can form antibodies to Procrit, causing severe anemia. If your anemia worsens while you are taking the drug, your healthcare provider should check to see if you are forming these antibodies. If this occurs, you may need to stop taking Procrit permanently.
- Procrit contains albumin, a human blood protein. As with all albumin products, theoretically, there is an extremely small risk of contracting an infection (including serious infections) from the albumin. However, there are no cases of this ever happening with an albumin product.
- In rare cases, Procrit can cause worsening of porphyria (a blood condition). If you have porphyria, your healthcare provider may need to monitor you more closely.
- Procrit is unlikely to interact with other medications (see Procrit Drug Interactions).
- Procrit 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 while pregnant (see Procrit and Pregnancy).
- It is not known if Procrit 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 Procrit and Breastfeeding).