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Red blood cells

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved epoetin alfa-epbx (Retacrit), a biosimilar to epoetin alfa (Epogen/Procrit).

Epoetin alfa-epbx is approved for the treatment of anemia caused by chronic kidney disease, the use of zidovudine in patients with HIV infection, and myelosuppressive chemotherapy in patients who have a minimum of 2 additional months of planned chemotherapy.

Epoetin alfa-epbx is also approved for use before and after surgery to reduce the chance that red blood cell transfusions will be needed because of blood loss during elective, noncardiac, or nonvascular surgery.

As with epoetin alfa, the prescribing information for epoetin alfa-epbx contains a Boxed Warning noting that erythropoiesis-stimulating agents increase the risk of death, myocardial infarction, stroke, venous thromboembolism, thrombosis of vascular access, and tumor progression or recurrence.

The FDA granted approval of epoetin alfa-epbx to Hospira Inc., a Pfizer company.

The agency’s approval is based on a review of evidence that included structural and functional characterization, animal study data, human pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data, clinical immunogenicity data, and other clinical safety and effectiveness data.

This evidence is available in an FDA briefing document on the biologics license application for epoetin alfa-epbx.

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