Procrit is a medication that can be prescribed to treat anemia caused by chronic kidney failure, chemotherapy, or zidovudine (an HIV medicine). In people with anemia who are undergoing surgery, the medication can also decrease the need for blood transfusions. It is given as an injection under the skin or by IV. Possible side effects of Procrit include fatigue, constipation, nausea, and fever.
What Is Procrit?
Procrit® (epoetin alfa) is a prescription medication approved for the following uses:
- Treating anemia due to chronic kidney failure (renal failure)
- Treating anemia caused by zidovudine (Retrovir®, Combivir®, Trizivir®), an HIV medication
- Treating anemia caused by chemotherapy in people with cancer
- Preventing the need for blood transfusions in people with anemia who are undergoing surgery.
Who Makes It?
Procrit is made by Amgen, Inc. and is marketed by Ortho Biotech Products.
How Does Procrit Work?
Procrit belongs to a group of medications known as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs). It is a manufactured version of erythropoietin, a human protein that is produced in the kidneys. The medication works by stimulating the production of red blood cells by the bone marrow.
Effects of Procrit
Procrit has been studied for the treatment of anemia due to a variety of conditions. These studies evaluated the efficacy of the medication by measuring hematocrit. Hematocrit is a blood test that measures how much of the blood consists of red blood cells, and is a good measure of anemia. These studies showed that Procrit can increase hematocrit, indicating that it is an effective treatment for anemia. In many situations, the medication was also shown to decrease the need for blood transfusions.