Proper Use

Drug information provided by: Micromedex

For cancer patients: It is very important that you understand and become familiar with the Aranesp® Medication Guide. You may also be asked to sign the ESA APPRISE Oncology Program Patient and Healthcare Professional (HCP) acknowledgement form. Direct any questions to your doctor or pharmacist before starting darbepoetin alfa therapy.

This medicine comes with a patient instructions insert. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

Darbepoetin alfa is usually given by a doctor. However, medicines given by injection are sometimes used at home. If you will be using darbepoetin alfa at home, your doctor will teach you how the injections are to be given. Be sure you understand exactly how the medicine is to be injected.

This medicine is available in 3 forms. You may use a vial, a prefilled syringe with an UltraSafe® Needle Guard, or a prefilled SureClick™ autoinjector.

If you need a full dose of this medicine, use the prefilled SureClick™ autoinjector unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

This medicine may be given as a shot under your skin or into a vein. If your doctor tells you to inject it a certain way, follow your doctor's instructions.

If you are giving this medicine at home:

  • Use a new needle and syringe each time you inject your medicine.
  • Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • You will be shown the body areas where this shot can be given.
  • Throw away used needles and syringes in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through (puncture-resistant). Keep this container away from children and pets.

Do not shake the container of medicine before you use it, and do not use this medicine if it has been frozen.

You might not use all of the medicine in each vial (glass container) or prefilled syringe. Use each vial or syringe only one time. Do not save an open vial or syringe. If the medicine in the vial or syringe has changed color, or if you see particles in it, do not use it.

Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about any special diet. You may need to eat foods that contain iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12 such as eggs, certain cereals, meats, and vegetables, or you may take an iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12 supplement while you are using this medicine.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For injection dosage form:
    • For anemia from chronic kidney failure:
      • Adults—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The starting dose is 0.45 to 0.75 microgram (mcg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight injected into a vein or under the skin once a week or once every 2 weeks. Your doctor may adjust the dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For anemia from cancer chemotherapy:
      • Adults—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The starting dose is 2.25 micrograms (mcg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight once a week or 500 mcg once every 3 weeks injected under the skin. Your doctor may adjust the dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

Call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.

Storage

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Store in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.

Protect the medicine from bright light. Keep your medicine in the original package until you are ready to use it.