Erythropoietin stimulating agents (also called ESA medicines) are used to treat anemia caused by chronic kidney disease or chemotherapy for cancer treatment. They may also be used to treat anemia caused by taking medicines for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Or they may be given for certain types of surgeries.
The kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin. It helps the body make red blood cells. If your kidneys don't make enough of the hormone, your body doesn't make enough red blood cells. Your red blood cell counts get low. This is called anemia. Having anemia can make you feel weak and tired. ESAs replace the hormone.
ESA is usually given as a shot under the skin or into a vein (IV).
Side effects may include:
Most people do not have side effects.
You may have other side effects or reactions not listed here. Check the information that comes with your medicine.
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Current as of: May 6, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine
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