NDT-EDUCATIONAL

New Drug Labels For Kidney Disease Patients

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently recommended that clinicians be more conservative when they prescribe chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients with drugs that treat red blood cell deficiencies. But the drug label's recommendations fall short, according to two commentaries appearing in an upcoming issue of theClinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN). 

The new federal recommendations apply to erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs). Patients with CKD may need these drugs if they lose the ability to make red blood cells and become anemic, which can make them tired, weak, and short of breath. ESAs treat certain types of anemia by stimulating red blood cell production and decreasing the need for blood transfusions. Drugs in the ESA class are epoetin alfa (marketed as Epogen and Procrit) and darbepoetin alfa (marketed as Aranesp). 

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