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Drugs. 2003;63(11):1067-74; discussion 1075-7.

Darbepoetin alfa: in patients with chemotherapy-related anaemia.

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Adis International Limited, Mairangi Bay, Auckland, New Zealand.


Darbepoetin alfa, novel erythropoiesis stimulating protein closely related to human erythropoietin, has been developed for the treatment of chemotherapy-related anaemia in patients with non-myeloid malignancies. In three 12-week, phase II studies in patients with cancer and chemotherapy-related anaemia, subcutaneous darbepoetin alfa, administered in once-weekly or 2-, 3- or 4-weekly regimens, dose-dependently increased the mean haemoglobin levels. In a randomised, double-blind, phase III study in 320 patients with lung cancer and chemotherapy-related anaemia, recipients of subcutaneous darbepoetin alfa 2.25 micro g/kg once weekly, received red blood cell (RBC) transfusion approximate, equals 2-fold less frequently than placebo recipients (p < 0.001). In the same study, patients receiving darbepoetin alfa also received fewer standard units of RBC for transfusion and had greater haematopoietic response rate than placebo recipients (both p < 0.001). Subcutaneous darbepoetin alfa 2.25 micro g/kg once weekly also reduced patient-reported fatigue (assessed by a quality-of-life questionnaire) [p = 0.019 vs placebo]. black triangle Darbepoetin alfa was generally well tolerated in clinical trials. The most frequent darbepoetin alfa-related adverse events were: body oedema, arthralgia and skin rash.

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