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Anemia Drugs Could Pose Threat to Some Kidney Patients
Date:9/15/2010

arify how to use ESAs. If I see that you don't respond, there may be something else going on with you, and I need to give you some special attention because you're at greater risk of having a bad outcome," said Dr. Robert Provenzano, chair of the department of nephrology at St. John Providence Health System in Detroit.

But, if you respond normally to ESAs, he said, the drugs may improve your quality of life when the medication is adjusted to keep your hemoglobin levels between 10 and 12.5 mg/dL.

Solomon said he wasn't sure if the modest benefit seen in patients was worth the potential increase in stroke risk. Provenzano countered that such a decision needs to be individualized based on the effects of the anemia, along with other aspects of the patient's life.

If you take this medication, Provenzano suggested asking your doctor where you fall on the continuum of response and whether you're in a high-risk group.

More information

Learn more about anemia and kidney disease from the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

SOURCES: Scott Solomon, M.D., director, noninvasive cardiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and associate professor, medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.; Robert Provenzano, M.D., chair, nephrology, St. John Providence Health System, Detroit, Mich.; Sept. 16, 2010, New England Journal of Medicine


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