03 December 2007
Epoetins are used to treat anaemia in patients with cancer who develop anaemia after chemotherapy, and in patients with chronic renal (kidney) disease.
A review of evidence by the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) has found that epoetin use in patients with kidney disease may increase the risk of death and serious cardiovascular (heart and circulation) events such as stroke.
In addition, epoetin use in cancer patients may increase the risk of developing a thrombosis (a dangerous blood clot in the circulation). Further information from the review is contained in the public assessment reports below.
The CHM have advised that treatment with epoetins should be appropriately adjusted when symptoms of anaemia have been brought under control.
Article in the December 2007 issue of Drug Safety Update (page 2).
More information on epoetins can be found in the safety warnings and messages for medicines section of our website.
This report presents the evidence that was available when the regulatory decision was made, showing a ‘snapshot’ of the clinical landscape at the time. However, any advice in this report remains current unless it is superseded by a more recent report (where relevant, this is indicated).
- MHRA Public Assessment Report - Epoetins for the management of anaemia in patients with chronic renal disease: mortality and cardiovascular morbidity (331Kb)
- MHRA Public Assessment Report - Epoetins for the management of anaemia associated with cancer: risk of tumour progression and mortality (676Kb)