Drugs affecting hematopoiesis

Diane S. Aschenbrenner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


•The immune system is a complex system of cells and chemical mediators that prevents foreign pathogens or cells from invading the body. •The mature blood cells differ in structure and function, but all develop from a common progenitor cell, or stem cell, from within the bone marrow. •Blood cell components may be altered because of pathophysiology or drug therapy to treat a disease process. •Drugs that stimulate the immune system to produce blood cells are hematopoietic growth factors. Drugs that stimulate production of RBCs are erythropoietics, those that produce WBCs are colony-stimulating factors, and those that increase platelets include a special interleukin. These drugs perform the same function as their endogenous counterparts. •Recombinant human erythropoietin, also known as epoetin alfa, is used to treat anemias that result from decreased production of RBCs (erythropoiesis). Tissue oxygenation cannot occur optimally with anemia. Anemia is common in chronic kidney disease, in CHF, and after some types of drug therapy. •Iron is also needed to form RBCs. Epoetin alfa therapy that is not effective or has a diminished effect is likely attributable to iron defi ciency, which may be absolute or functional. Most patients who receive epoetin alfa therapy need iron supplementation at some time for RBCs to be produced. •The colony-stimulating factors are the granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (G-CSF) and the granulocytemacrophage colony-stimulating factors (GM-CSF). They stimulate WBC production. Neutropenia and other suppression of the WBC count frequently occur after chemotherapy and use of some other types of drugs. Low WBC counts, especially low neutrophil counts, place the patient at increased risk for contracting an infection. •Unlike other interleukins, interleukin-11 (oprelvekin) has hematopoietic properties and stimulates the production of platelets. Without an adequate number of platelets, proper blood clotting cannot take place. The patient is at risk for excessive bleeding (internal or external). •Drugs that promote production of blood cells should not be given at the same time as chemotherapy because the rapidly producing cells are likely to be killed by the drug therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDrug Therapy in Nursing
PublisherWolters Kluwer Health Adis (ESP)
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781469819174
ISBN (Print)9781451187663
StatePublished - Nov 7 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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