Darbepoetin alfa administered once every two weeks (Q2W) safely and effectively treats anemia in hemodialysis patients without having to increase the dose, according to researchers in Portugal.
Their study enrolled 105 patients who had been receiving a stable once-weekly (QW) dose of IV darbepoetin alfa for six months. Of these, 90 were switched to IV darbepoetin alfa Q2W for another six months. Eighty patients completed the study. The dose was titrated to maintain hemoglobin concentrations between 11 and 13 g/dL throughout the entire 12-month study period.
At the end of the first and second treatment periods, the mean hemoglobin levels were 11.79 and 11.70 g/dL, a nonsignificant difference. The mean weekly doses of darbepoetin alfa also were similar (34 vs. 32.1 µg/week for QW and Q2W dosing, respectively).
The researchers noted that in their dialysis unit, erythropoiesis stimulating agents are given on dosing schedules less frequent than the initially approved three-time-per-week regimens used a decade ago.
“The results of our current in-vestigation indicate clearly that switching CKD patients on hemodialysis from darbepoetin alfa QW to Q2W dosing effectively maintains stable hemoglobin concentrations without any need for an increase in the dose,” the authors concluded.