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Clin Nephrol. 1994 May;41(5):297-302.

Erythropoietin response and route of administration.

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  • 1Renal Unit, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, Scotland.


The effect of route of erythropoietin (EPO) administration was assessed in sixteen hemodialysis patients who completed a randomised crossover study of thrice weekly subcutaneous (SC) and intravenous (IV) erythropoietin with an EPO-free washout period separating the two phases of treatment. Route of EPO administration had no significant effect on absolute reticulocyte counts, and change in hemoglobin (Hb) during the first six weeks of therapy, at a constant EPO dose (120 iu/kg/week). Similarly, there was no significant difference in EPO dose requirement between the two routes, both during and after correction of anemia, and after maintenance of target Hb (10-12 g/dl) for an eight-week period (end of maintenance period dose; median [range]; SC EPO: 120 [30-367] iu/kg/week, IV EPO: 124.5 [37-377] iu/kg/week). Following EPO withdrawal, Hb fell at a rate of 0.38 (0.14-0.69) g/dl/week. Route of EPO administration did not influence the incidence of thrombotic and hypertensive side effects, or increases in dialysis heparin requirement and albumin, and decreases in ferritin, alpha-1-antitrypsin and ceruloplasmin during the study period. In conclusion, thrice weekly SC and IV EPO are comparable in terms of efficacy and safety.

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