- When erythropoietin may be used
- Allergic reaction
- Feeling sick or being sick
- How to Give a Subcutaneous Injection Using a Pre-filled Syringe
- Why is this medication prescribed?
- Flu-like symptoms
- Blood clot risk
- Muscle, joint or bone pain
- High blood pressure
- Swollen hands or feet
- Important information
- Skin irritation at the injection site
- Skin rash
When erythropoietin may be used
Rarely, some people have an allergic reaction to erythropoietin.
Signs of an allergic reaction can include:
- red, warm and itchy bumps on the skin (like nettle rash)
- swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
- breathlessness, wheezing, a cough or sudden difficulty breathing
- tight chest or chest pain.
Feeling sick or being sick
You may feel sick during treatment with erythropoietin.
How to Give a Subcutaneous Injection Using a Pre-filled Syringe
Your doctor can prescribe anti-sickness drugs to help prevent or control sickness.
Take the drugs exactly as your nurse or pharmacist explains to you.
It’s easier to prevent sickness than to treat it after it has started.
Tell your doctor if you have diarrhoea. They can give you medicine to help with this.
Let them know if it is severe or if it does not get better.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Remember to drink at least 2 litres (3½ pints) of fluids a day.
Some people have flu-like symptoms, such as:
- feeling sick
- joint pains
You are more likely to have these symptoms at the start of your treatment. Usually, they last for a few days.
Your doctor may advise you to take paracetamol to help with these symptoms.
Blood clot risk
Cancer can increase the risk of a blood clot.
Erythropoietin may increase this risk further.
Symptoms of a blood clot include:
- pain, redness or swelling in a leg or arm
- chest pain.
If you have any of these symptoms, contact a doctor straight away.
A blood clot is serious, so it is important to have it treated as soon as possible.
It is treated with drugs that thin the blood.
Your doctor or nurse can give you more information.
Muscle, joint or bone pain
One type of erythropoietin, called Eprex®, may cause pain in muscles, bones or joints.
Tell your doctor if this happens so they can prescribe painkillers.
Let them know if the pain does not get better.
High blood pressure
Erythropoietin may cause high blood pressure. Tell your doctor or nurse if you have ever had any problems with your blood pressure.
You should also tell them if you take any medication for high blood pressure. Your nurse will check your blood pressure regularly during your treatment.
Contact your doctor or get medical advice straight away if you:
- have a severe headache
- feel drowsy or confused
- have problems with your eyesight
- have fits
- start being sick (vomiting).
These are signs that your blood pressure may be very high.
Erythropoietin can increase the risk of having a stroke.
Signs of a stroke include:
- weakness or numbness in one side of your body
- slurred speech or drooping of your face, mouth or eye
If you, or someone you know, notices you have any of these symptoms, get medical advice straight away.
Swollen hands or feet
Your ankles, feet or fingers may swell because of fluid building up.
Tell your doctor or nurse if this happens.
If your feet and ankles swell, it can help to put your legs up on a foot stool or cushion.
Skin irritation at the injection site
Your skin may become red or tender in the area the injection is given.
Injecting into a different area of skin each time can help reduce skin irritation.
You may develop a skin rash, which may be itchy and red.
Tell your doctor if you notice this.
They can give you advice and may prescribe creams or medicines to help.
Rarely, people develop more serious skin reactions.
These can include:
- a target-like rash (round red patches with an inner circle or blister inside)
- blisters on the skin
- ulcers in the mouth or in other parts of the body
- sore, red eyes.
If you develop any of these symptoms, or have a skin rash and feel unwell, stop taking erythropoietin and contact a doctor straight away.