Cancer patients will learn more from their doctors about the possible risks and benefits of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) to manage anemia during chemotherapy under a new program just approved by the FDA.
ESAs can be given to chemotherapy patients to reduce the need for blood transfusions. However, there can be problems with ESAs including causing some tumors to grow faster or some patients to die sooner. They can also increase risk for blood clots, heart failure, heart attack or stroke.
ESAs, including Procrit®, Epogen®, and Aranesp®, are now covered by a REMS or Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy which requires that patient receive a Medication Guide from their health care providers that tells them how to safely use an ESA drug.
In addition, health care providers who use ESAs with their patients must be be actively enrolled in the APPRISE (Assisting Providers and Cancer Patients with Risk Information for the Safe Use of ESAs) Oncology program and receive training in their safe use. Read the rest of this entry »