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Am J Kidney Dis. 1989 Dec;14(6):486-95.

The use of recombinant human erythropoietin in the correction of anemia in predialysis patients and its effect on renal function: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

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  • 1Valley Internal Medicine and Nephrology Group, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Van Nuys, CA 91405.


Fourteen nondialyzed patients with chronic renal insufficiency (serum creatinine 265 to 972 mumol/L [3.0 to 11.0 mg/dL]) and severe anemia (hematocrit less than 30%) were randomized to receive either recombinant human erythropoietin (r-HuEPO) or a placebo subcutaneously thrice weekly for 12 weeks or until reaching a hematocrit of 38% to 40%. Anemia was significantly ameliorated in the treated patients. No acceleration in the progression of renal failure (1/serum creatinine v time) or change in serum potassium was noted for either the placebo or treated group over the 12-week period. Six of seven treated patients had a significant decrease in serum ferritin and percent transferrin saturation (plasma iron/total iron-binding capacity). This resulted in functional iron deficiency and the requirement for iron supplementation. The average systolic and diastolic blood pressure did not differ significantly between the two groups of patients during the study. Quality of life was improved in all r-HuEPO-treated patients but not in those in the placebo group. This study demonstrates the safety and efficacy of r-HuEPO in the correction of anemia in predialysis patients without adverse effects on renal function over a 12-week period. Improved patient well-being as a result of the correction of anemia resulted in one patient refusing appropriate initiation of dialysis therapy.

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