Aranesp (trade name for darbepoetin alfa) is a medicine prescribed by doctors to treat anemia associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and symptomatic anemia associated with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Anemia is caused due to chemotherapy cancer treatment.
How does Aranesp work, and what will it do?
In the bone marrow of the body, the blood cells get produced. There are three major types of blood cells- white blood cells (fight against infection), red blood cells (carry oxygen to and remove the waste product from organs and tissues), and platelets (enable the clotting of the blood).,
During chemotherapy and radiation therapy, the cells are affected. A person can risk developing infections, anemia, and bleeding problems, as their body might not produce enough erythropoietin.
Aranesp is a medicine belonging to the class of medication called erythropoiesis-regulating hormones. The drug replaces the erythropoietin that is lacking in people whose own body is unable to produce enough.
Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) is a human-made erythropoiesis protein similar to the body’s erythropoietin produced by the kidneys. Erythropoietin gives the signal to the bone marrow to produce more RBCs (red blood cells).
As erythropoietin gets produced and regulated by kidneys, people with CKD may develop low erythropoietin levels they become anemic. Aranesp can be used to treat anemia in people with CKD, whether they are on dialysis or not.
The iron-containing substance in the red blood cells that deliver oxygen throughout the whole body is hemoglobin. The normal range for hemoglobin is 12 to 18 g/dl; the content may vary depending on the patient’s age and gender. A doctor may prescribe Aranesp to chemotherapy patients whose hemoglobin levels are below normal levels.
Aranesp may not act immediately, and hence it may take several weeks before there is a noticeable response to the medicine.
Warnings and precautions for Aranesp:
Before starting Aranesp, inform all other medicines you are taking- vitamins, herbal remedies, over-the-counter prescriptions.
- You should use the medicine with caution in people with high blood pressure, and patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure should not take it.
- You should cautiously give it to patients with a history of seizures as Aranesp increases the risk of having a stroke.
- Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or may be pregnant before starting the treatment.
- Before starting the treatment, correct the deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12, or folate or other factors that may impair erythropoiesis.
- Discuss with your doctor if you wish to become pregnant or conceive a child after the treatment.
- It is unknown whether Aranesp gets secreted in human milk or not; caution should get exercised while giving the medicine to a nursing woman. Know more about Aranesp.
Side effects of Aranesp:
Most people do not experience all the side effects. However, it gets advised to consult your doctor if you feel any of the following:
Aranesp can increase the risk of heart or circulatory problems- heart attack or stroke. Seek medical help if you have- chest pain, shortness of breath, sudden numbness or weakness, vision or balance, problem in speaking or understanding, pain or coldness in arms or legs.
Seek emergency medical help if you feel:
- Heart attack symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, pain in your jaws or shoulders, nausea, sweating
- Signs of stroke: sudden numbness or weakness, confusion, sudden severe headache, slurred speech problems with vision or balance
- Symptoms of a blood clot: pain, swelling, redness, warmth, cold feeling, or pale appearance of an arm or leg.
- Increased blood pressure: headache, blurred vision, pounding in neck or ears, anxiety, nosebleed.
Other side effects of Aranesp may include:
- unusual weakness or tiredness
- Shortness of breath, swelling, and rapid weight gain
- Low blood pressure during dialysis
- Stomach pain swelling in your arms and legs
Increased blood pressure, headache, numbness, and heart attack symptoms are also the side effects of Aptivus (a medicine used with ritonavir and other HIV-1 medications to control HIV infections). Aptivus is not the cure for HIV infection. The treatment, treatment with other medicines decrease the amount of HIV in your body. It makes your immune system work better. The drug reduces the chance of getting HIV complications. Click here to know more about Aptivus.
Other side effects of Aptivus:
- Develop diabetes and high blood pressure
- Cause change in the immune system
- Cause change in body fat
- May increase blood fat levels
- May increase in bleeding in patients with hemophilia
Aranesp is the medicine used to treat anemia. The drug causes the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Though the treatment effectively treats anemia, certain precautions need to be taken while taking medicine. To handle the side effects of the drug, it’s necessary to seek a doctor as soon as any side effect is noticed.