Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents in patients with chronic kidney disease

Mario Eandi



Anemia is a frequent complication of chronic kidney disease (CKD) due to the inability of the kidneys to release sufficient erythropoietin to regulate the production of red blood cells. Administration of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) is highly effective in correcting anemia of CKD. The ESAs currently approved in Italy are epoetin alfa, epoetin beta, epoetin theta, darbepoetin alfa, CERA and biosimilars epoetin alfa and epoetin zeta. All the ESAs are effective in correcting renal anemia and increasing hemoglobin levels, but the choice of which to use should also take into account their pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, their administration route, and economic issues. However, regarding the optimal use of ESAs an issue that remains controversial is the most appropriate dose conversion between epoetin alfa and darbepoetin alfa. In fact clinical experience demonstrates that the dose relationship between epoetin alfa and darbepoetin alfa is non proportional across the dosing spectrum. In this review is presented an update on the latest available evidence in the treatment of anemia in CKD patients, with particular reference to the definition of the correct conversion ratio EPO:DARB.


Chronic kidney disease; Anemia; Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents; Dose conversion; Darbepoetin alfa

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