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Red blood cells

Mircera®, methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat anemia in pediatric patients who have chronic kidney disease (CKD).

The drug is indicated for patients ages 5 to 17 years on hemodialysis who are switching from another erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) after their hemoglobin levels have stabilized.

The FDA also approved the agent to treat adult patients with CKD-associated anemia.

However, the drug is not approved to treat anemia caused by cancer chemotherapy.

The FDA based its approval on data from an open-label, multiple-dose, multicenter, dose-finding trial (NCT00717366).

Investigators enrolled 64 pediatric patients with CKD on hemodialysis. The patients had to have stable hemoglobin levels while receiving another ESA, such as epoetin alfa/beta or darbepoetin alfa.

Patients received Mircera intravenously once every 4 weeks for 20 weeks. Investigators adjusted the dosages, if necessary, after the first administration to maintain target hemoglobin levels.

Efficacy was based on the patients’ ability to maintain target hemoglobin levels and also on data extrapolated from trials of Mircera in adults with CKD.

Patients who received Mircera had a mean change in hemoglobin concentration from baseline of -0.15g/dL and 75% maintained hemoglobin values within ± 1g/dL of baseline.

Eighty-one percent maintained hemoglobin values within 10–12g/dL during the evaluation period.

The safety findings in pediatric patients were consistent with those previously reported in adults.

The most common adverse reactions occurring in 10% or more patients, as indicated in the prescribing information, are hypertension, diarrhea, and nasopharyngitis.

The drug carries a black box warning for increased risk of death, myocardial infarction, stroke, venous thromboembolism, thrombosis of vascular access, and tumor progression of recurrence.

Mircera is an erythropoietin receptor activator with greater activity in vivo as well as increased half-life, compared to erythropoietin.

Mircera is manufactured by Vifor (International) Inc. 


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