Recombinant human erythropoietin has been approved for use in patients undergoing autologous donation in Japan, Europe, and Canada since 1993, 1994, and 1996, respectively, and for perisurgical adjuvant therapy without autologous donation in Canada and the United States since 1996. Early clinical trials of erythropoietin therapy in the setting of autologous donation have provided important information regarding clinical safety, erythropoietin dose, and erythropoietic response. Later trials of perisurgical erythropoietin therapy without autologous donation provided data on efficacy (reduced allogeneic blood exposure) that led to approval of erythropoietin in patients undergoing surgery. However, the erythropoietin doses (300 U/kg subcutaneous x14 days) used in these trials, and their subsequent inclusion in labeling for the use of this product, are costly and tedious to administer. A recent study reported that a weekly regimen of erythropoietin (600 U/kg) for 4 weeks is less costly but just as effective at reducing allogeneic blood exposure in elective orthopaedic surgery. The most cost effective regimen that has been shown to minimize allogeneic exposure is preoperative erythropoietin therapy (600 U/kg subcutaneous weekly x2 and 300 U/kg subcutaneous on day of surgery) coupled with acute normovolemic hemodilution in patients undergoing radical retropubic prostatectomy. A similar regimen of erythropoietin therapy in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (2500 U/kg subcutaneous in divided doses for 2 weeks preoperatively) coupled with hemodilution also was effective. Low dose erythropoietin therapy coupled with acute normovolemic hemodilution ultimately may be shown to be cost equivalent to the predonation of three autologous blood units before elective surgery.
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View details for PubMedID 9917704