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Semin Nephrol. 1989 Mar;9(1 Suppl 1):16-21.

Clinical efficacy of recombinant human erythropoietin in hemodialysis patients.

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  • 1Troy Hemodialysis Unit, Henry Ford Hospital, MI 48084.


The anemia associated with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is primarily due to a deficiency in renal-derived erythropoietin. Through advances in genetic engineering, the gene for erythropoietin has been isolated and cloned, and recombinant human erythropoietin (r-HuEPO; EPOGEN, AMGEN Inc, Thousand Oaks, CA) is now available for clinical use. Study results indicate that r-HuEPO is highly effective in ameliorating symptomatic anemia in patients with chronic renal failure. Sustained dose-dependent increases in hematocrit values are achieved in at least 97% of patients, with improvement in quality of life, exercise tolerance, decrease in total body iron stores, and virtual elimination (40-fold reduction) of transfusion requirements. Hypertension is the most common side effect, but is easily controlled. To date, anti-erythropoietin antibodies have not been detected in patients treated with this product. Doses between 100 and 150 U/kg body weight are sufficient to increase hematocrit levels to normal in 2 months or less, with iron replacement therapy needed in most patients. The correction of anemia in ESRD patients promotes an increase in appetite, causing ingestion of more protein, potassium, and sodium. The resulting need for increased dialysis may burden existing dialysis facilities. Experience with 36 patients receiving r-Hu-EPO demonstrates that high-flux short-time hemodialysis is as effective as conventional hemodialysis. There were no significant differences between the groups in laboratory parameters including blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, potassium, phosphate, mean arterial pressure, and weight loss, although hematocrit values were slightly higher in the high-flux dialysis patients. Adverse effects resulting from r-HuEPO treatment were minor and were not more common in the group receiving high-flux short-time hemodialysis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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