Eprex: action of the drug for secondary anemia

After the diagnosis of a disease, appropriate treatment is needed, reducing the risk of other complications. This is the case for patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), a progressive condition that can trigger changes in red blood cell rates – that is, cause anemia .

The anemic condition, favored by CKD, in addition to causing other symptoms, can accelerate the progression of kidney disease. Therefore, proper treatment is essential to control the condition.

Among the medication options is Eprex. An injectable substance that promotes rapid action. Find out more about him!

What is Eprex and what is it for?

Eprex is one of the trade names for the substance alphaepoetin, from the Janssen-Cilag laboratory. It is an injection indicated to increase the concentration of hemoglobin in the blood (protein present inside the red blood cells) and to treat secondary anemia in adults or children.

This means that anemia is due to another condition. For example, when there is chronic renal failure in patients on dialysis.

The drug has a translucent and transparent appearance, being an injectable liquid, used subcutaneously or intravenously.

Its use aims to avoid the need for blood transfusions due to the low concentration of intense hemoglobin, also minimizing other risks associated with the condition.

It is worth mentioning that patients with Chronic Kidney Disease must be constantly evaluated for anemia, as the chances of developing the condition are great.

Clinically, anemic conditions are considered when exams indicate hemoglobin lower than 13g / dL in men and women in the post- menopause or less than 12g / dL in women in the pre-menopause.

These low rates result in deficiency in the delivery of oxygen to organs and tissues throughout the body. Thus, patients can manifest weakness, headaches, malaise and other symptoms, in addition to being more vulnerable to heart problems.

Although there are several substances capable of acting in a similar way (stimulating erythropoiesis, that is, increasing the number of red blood cells), alfaepoetina is one of the most studied, demonstrating good efficacy and safety in its application.

Eprex, in general, is applied 3 times a week until the red blood cell rates stabilize, continuing with weekly maintenance applications that are evaluated according to each condition.

What is it for?

The use of Eprex is evaluated in cases of secondary anemia, for example:

  • Anemia caused by chronic renal failure, in adults or children on dialysis or pre-dialysis;
  • Anemia associated with non-myeloid cancer and secondary to myelosuppressive chemotherapy;
  • Anemia in people with AIDS using zidovudine (AZT).

In addition, the medication can be used in preoperative cases in which the person will donate autologous blood (the blood is collected and stored, being stored until the time of the surgery. Thus, the person receives the donation of his own blood, decreasing risks).

It is also possible to use Eprex in preoperative periods of large orthopedic procedures, to increase the hemoglobin rate, avoiding autologous blood transfusions.

Is anemia in kidney failure common?

Yea! Chronic kidney disease can cause several complications to people with it, as it is a progressive condition that usually triggers systemic complications.

Among them, anemia, which is when there is insufficiency of red cells in the blood, resulting in a deficiency in the distribution of oxygen to the organs and tissues of the body.

In people with chronic kidney disease, there is a great tendency for anemia to occur, especially after stage III of CKD. That’s because the kidneys produce an important hormone for the formation of red blood cells, erythropoietin. Without it, blood cell deficiency occurs.

In addition, there may be an increase in the production of hormones that inhibit the absorption of iron (hepcidin) and a decrease in the production of iron transport proteins .

Without iron, the body is also unable to properly produce red cells (red blood cells).

In addition, the condition is cyclical, because after anemia is installed, it tends to worsen the progression of chronic kidney disease. Therefore, patients diagnosed with the disease must be constantly evaluated and, if necessary, treated.

Among the tests indicated for the assessment and monitoring of the conditions are hematimetric indices, reticulocyte count, serum iron rate, transferrin saturation and serum ferritin.

What are the side effects of Alfaepoetina?

Eprex can cause some side effects. This will not necessarily happen and, also, the intensity and manifestation of them depends on each person. Among them, one of the most common is the elevation of blood pressure. In this case, it may be necessary to use or adjust the doses of medication for high blood pressure .

In addition, other common manifestations with the use of alfaepoetina are:

  • Diarrhea;
  • Sickness;
  • Vomiting;
  • Fever;
  • Headache;
  • Flu symptoms (pain in the body and joints, weakness, tiredness, chills).

Less common, but still possible to occur, are allergic reactions, such as skin rashes, anaphylactic reactions and angioedemas.

Is Eprex generic?

No. Eprex is a biological medicine that uses alfaepoetin as an active substance. That is, it is not generic, but it is also not a reference medicine.

Biological drugs are composed of complex molecules, obtained through processes of molecular biology and biotechnology.

Thus, the technology employed allows the action of the substance to be more selective, acting with more specificity on molecules related to diseases.

How to apply?

Eprex is administered by injection, and it is recommended that the application be done by specialists or people trained by health professionals. It is applied subcutaneously or intravenously and some precautions must be taken before administration.

First, it needs to be removed from the refrigerator and left at room temperature, which can take between 15 to 30 minutes. However, it is important that the Eprex does not stay more than 60 minutes outside the refrigerator and not in contact with the sun.

The application must be unique, that is, not mixed with other medications. In addition, handling must be careful, avoiding shaking or shaking the solution.

All hygiene measures must be carried out, according to medical advice.

For subcutaneous application, the anterior aspect of the thigh, arms or abdomen can be chosen for the application, respecting the maximum injection of 1mL in each location.

After sterilizing the area properly, a skin fold should be made, without tightening the skin too much. The needle must be inserted completely under the skin and the plunger must be pushed until all the liquid is injected.

After all the medication has been administered, a click can be heard, indicating the Protects safety trigger. Then, just remove the needle and loosen the skin fold. In this process, the needle protector will cover it.

Price and where to buy cheaper?

Eprex can be found in pharmacies and requires a medical prescription for purchase (white prescription, that is, there is no retention). There are different quantity options (IU), the choice of which depends on medical advice.

Between them*:

  • Eprex 10.000UI, box with 6 syringes filled with 1mL of solution : R $ 1,812.19 up to R $ 2,750.00;
  • Eprex 4000UI, box with 6 syringes filled with 0.4mL of solution : R $ 704 to R $ 1,200;
  • Eprex 4000UI, c aixa syringe 1 filled with 1 ml solution : R $ 702 to $ 712;
  • Eprex 2000UI, box with 6 syringes filled with 0.5 ml of solution : R $ 359 to R $ 705;
  • Eprex 3000UI, box with 6 syringes filled with 0.3mL of solution : R $ 479 to R $ 580;
  • Eprex 1000UI, box with 6 syringes filled with 0.5 ml of solution : R $ 219 to R $ 302.

* Prices consulted in November 2019. Prices may change.

If you need to make an Eprex quote, just access this link and count on the assistance of a medical quote adviser.


Eprex is one of the drugs that may be needed to restore well-being and maintain the quality of life of people with Chronic Kidney Failure.

Its use must be evaluated by health professionals and the recommendations must be strictly followed.

For more tips and information on treatments and medications, follow the Healthy Minute!

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