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Nephron. 2018;140(1):24-30. doi: 10.1159/000490202. Epub 2018 Jun 26.

Patterns of Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agent Use in European Hemodialysis Patients: The Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study.

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Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
Department of Nephrology, Alessandro Manzoni Hospital, Lecco, Italy.



Clinicians providing dialysis care have numerous erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) available for treating anemia. We sought to provide a contemporary description of ESA types used in hemodialysis (HD) settings in nine European countries.


Our study uses Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study phase 5 (2012-2015) data from nine European countries (Belgium, France, -Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom). A total of 164 facilities and 3,281 patients contributed cross-sectional data. ESA types captured included short-acting epoetins (e.g., epoetin alfa, beta, etc., including biosimilars), darbepoetin alfa, and continuous erythropoietin receptor agonist (CERA; methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta).


We observed broad variability across countries in prescription of ESA types: prescription of epoetin alfa or epoetin beta ranged from 22% (France) to 78% (Russia), darbepoetin alfa prescription ranged from 13% (Russia) to 53% (UK), and CERA prescription ranged from <3% (Sweden) to 26% (France). Prescription of different ESA types varied substantially within some European countries from 2012-2015 but not across all countries in aggregate. Number of ESA types prescribed by a facility varied from 1, 2, 3, or 4 different ESA types in 32, 40, 21, and 8% of facilities, respectively. No differences were seen in the unadjusted distributions of achieved hemoglobin values by ESA type.


A variety of short- and long-acting ESAs are commonly used in European HD facilities to maintain hemoglobin at remarkably similar levels with each ESA type. The availability of numerous ESA options for managing anemia has allowed European providers to optimize anemia management according to the particular circumstances of each patient.


Anemia; Erythropoiesis-stimulating agent; Hemodialysis; Practice patterns


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