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Mov Disord. 2011 Mar;26(4):739-42. doi: 10.1002/mds.23435. Epub 2010 Nov 10.

Epoetin alfa increases frataxin production in Friedreich's ataxia without affecting hematocrit.

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Department of Neurological Sciences, University Federico II, Napoli, NA, Italy.


Objective of the study was to test the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of two single doses of Epoetin alfa in patients with Friedreich's ataxia. Ten patients were treated subcutaneously with 600 IU/kg for the first dose, and 3 months later with 1200 IU/kg. Epoetin alfa had no acute effect on frataxin, whereas a delayed and sustained increase in frataxin was evident at 3 months after the first dose (+35%; P < 0.05), and up to 6 months after the second dose (+54%; P < 0.001). The treatment was well tolerated and did not affect hematocrit, cardiac function, and neurological scale. Single high dose of Epoetin alfa can produce a considerably larger and sustained effect when compared with low doses and repeated administration schemes previously adopted. In addition, no hemoglobin increase was observed, and none of our patients required phlebotomy, indicating lack of erythropoietic effect of single high dose of erythropoietin.

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