Allergic reactin to epogen

Hi, my husband has had a bad reaction to epogen, and was wondering what he can take instead his doctor only told him to take iron 3 times a day, will that help.
thank you

I’m so sorry to hear that your husband had a reaction! Epogen is a synthetic version of a hormone his body used to make. Reactions are rare, but they can happen. Anemia (a shortage of red blood cells) would sap your husband’s energy. Iron is part of the solution–the body uses it as “building blocks” to make red blood cells. Without enough iron, it doesn’t matter how much Epogen someone takes. But iron alone isn’t usually enough. Epogen is the signal that tells the bone marrow to make red blood cells out of the iron. I wonder if your husband might not react to Aranesp, which is a different molecule? There are other drugs on the horizon to treat anemia due to kidney disease that your husband may be able to take as well. You can learn more about anemia in the Anemia module of Kidney School at

I dont know, his doctor didnt mention anything about Aranesp, so I am just giving the iron for now, thanks for the advice

If it were me, I would ask the doctor about Aranesp. Your husband might have to get the first dose or two with a crash cart on hand, in case he has a reaction. If you are giving iron, I suspect that means it is oral (pills)? Oral iron is not absorbed very well. If your husband can’t take Epogen and is only getting oral iron, he probably will have trouble getting to the target range for red blood cells. You didn’t say if he is ON dialysis?

As Dori said oral iron products may not be well absorbed in people with kidney disease and on dialysis. It may be that one oral iron product will work better than another or your husband may need to get IV iron periodicallly. Before Epogen, Procrit or Aranesp came on the market, dialysis patients got injections of an anabolic steroid called nandrolone decanoate (trade name Deca-durabolin). Other treatments I’m aware of include vitamin B-12 and folic acid. Ask about side effects. Back before EPO, transfusions were also given frequently. Besides the risk of diseases from blood transfusions, they increase antibodies in the blood that make it harder to find a compatible kidney for a transplant.

Exercise and getting more dialysis may help to increase his hemoglobin more naturally.