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Curr Opin Hematol. 1998 Mar;5(2):103-8.

How and when to use erythropoietin.

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Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology, IRCCS Policlinico S. Matteo, Pavia, Italy.


Recombinant human erythropoietin is used in clinical practice mainly for treatment of anemia of renal failure. In the past years, however, its use has been approved for other indications, including prevention of anemia in surgical patients or in patients undergoing platinum-based chemotherapy, treatment of anemia of prematurity, of anemia induced by zidovudine therapy in HIV-infected patients, and of anemia induced by chemotherapy of nonmyeloid malignancies. Erythropoietin should routinely be given subcutaneously to maximize its effects. Most patients undergoing rHuEpo treatment develop functional iron deficiency, a situation in which iron supply to the erythroid marrow is inadequate for the erythrocyte precursor demand. Iron supplementation should, therefore, be given to all individuals receiving rHuEpo except for those patients with increased serum iron and transferrin saturation. Outside the setting of uremia, only a portion of patients can clearly benefit from erythropoietin therapy; therefore, the use of rHuEpo should be individualized in nonrenal applications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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