Recombinant human erythropoietins (epoetins): new prescribing advice

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.

See also:

Article in the December 2007 issue of Drug Safety Update (page 2). PDF file (opens in new window)

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 However, any advice in this report remains current unless it is superseded by a more recent report (where relevant, this is indicated).


Page last modified: 11 February 2016