You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking darbepoetin alfa if you have:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Heart disease
- A history of a heart attack, blood clot, or stroke
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- A blood disorder, such as:
- Sickle cell anemia
- Hemolytic anemia
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Darbepoetin Alfa to learn more, including information on who should not take the drug.)
It belongs to a group of medications known as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs). Darbepoetin alfa is a manufactured version of erythropoietin, a human protein that is produced in the kidneys. It works by stimulating the production of red blood cells by the bone marrow.
It is very similar to epoetin alfa (Epogen®, Procrit®), with a few minor changes to the molecule. These changes make darbepoetin alfa long-acting. Darbepoetin alfa is taken once weekly (or every two or three weeks), while epoetin alfa must be taken more frequently (usually three times a week).