Dosing Intervals of Darbepoetin Alfa May Be Extended in Pre-Dialysis Patients

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LAS VEGAS—Darbepoetin alfa dosing intervals in pre-dialysis patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) may be extended beyond the approved one- or two-week frequency, researchers reported at the National Kidney Foundation's Spring Clinical Meetings.

According to investigators, this could ease the workload for health care staff, decrease costs while achieving desirable hemoglobin levels, and improve patients compliance, particularly for patients self-administering the drug at home.

In a study of 26 patients with clinically stable pre-dialysis CKD, Sayed Husain, MD, and colleagues at New York Hospital Queens/Cornell University, New York, examined whether darbepoetin alfa could be given to patients at longer intervals to maintain hemoglobin values greater than 10 g/dL. Patients had a mean glomerular filtration rate of 30.9 mL/min/1.73 m2. The goal of therapy was hemoglobin of 10-12g/dL. Once Hb was within the target range of 10-12g/dL, the interval was extended, at the physician's discretion, to once every three to five weeks. Hb were evaluated after 16 weeks of extended dosing and were termed successful with maintenance of mean Hb levels greater than 10g/dL.

Of the 26 patients, 18 were on or switched to darbepoetin alfa once every three to five weeks. Four patients were receiving the medication every three weeks; 12 were receiving it every four weeks, and two were receiving it every five weeks. For these patients, no changes in dose or frequency were made until the end of the evaluation period. The amount of the medication administered per dose was between 60-200 µg.

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