purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) given subcutaneously three times/week in patients with chronic renal failure and anemia (predialysis). patients and methods: Eleven patients with predialysis chronic renal failure participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of subcutaneously administered erythropoietin. For 12 weeks, patients received either rHuEPO 100 μ/kg body weight three times/week subcutaneously or a placebo. After 12 weeks of placebo, patients now also received rHuEPO in a dose up to 150 μ/kg three times/week until target hematocrit was achieved. Throughout the study, blood pressure was monitored closely and blood work was obtained regularly for hemoglobin, hematocrit, reticulocyte count, and iron profile determinations. results: At 12 weeks, the hematocrit of the treated group had risen from 29% ± 2% to 35% ± 2% (p <0.001). The placebo group baseline hematocrit was 28% ± 2% and at 12 weeks 26% ± 2%. After 12 weeks of rHuEPO therapy, the hematocrit of the prior placebo group was 32% ± 2% (p <0.001 versus baseline). No significant change in biochemical parameters was noted. Mean blood pressure values were comparable before and after treatment. All patients ultimately required iron supplementation. In two patients, the rate of progression of renal failure appeared to increase as their hematocrit rose and rHuEPO was discontinued. conclusions: It is concluded that rHuEPO given subcutaneously is an effective and safe therapy for patients with chronic renal failure who are anemic and who are not receiving dialysis.
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