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Aranesp is a prescription drug that is licensed to treat anemia caused by chronic kidney failure or chemotherapy. The medicine, which is a man-made version of a human protein, works by stimulating the production of red blood cells by the bone marrow. Aranesp can be given as an injection under the skin or by IV. Potential side effects include diarrhea, fatigue, and infection.

What Is Aranesp?

Aranesp® (darbepoetin alfa) is a prescription medication approved to treat anemia caused by the following:
  • Chronic kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Chemotherapy in people with cancer.
(Click Aranesp Uses for more information on what the drug is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Aranesp?

It is made by Amgen, Inc.

How Does It Work?

It belongs to a group of medications known as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs). Aranesp is a man-made version of erythropoietin, a human protein that is produced in the kidneys. Aranesp works by stimulating the production of red blood cells by the bone marrow. It is very similar to epoetin alfa (Epogen®, Procrit®), with a few minor changes to the molecule. These changes make Aranesp long-acting. Aranesp is taken once weekly (or every two or three weeks), while epoetin alfa must be taken more frequently (usually three times a week).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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