A new study has found that treatment with anaemia drug doesn't benefit kidney disease patients who are on dialysis.
Darbepoetin alfa is one of a class of drugs used to increase red blood cells in patients with type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease and anemia, but in a study of 4,038 patients, it did little to reduce cardiovascular problems, death or even the need for dialysis.
"We were disappointed that the drug didn't make a difference," The New England Journal of Medicine quoted Dr. Robert Toto, professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern as saying.
"We set out doing this trial to prove whether treatment of anemia would help our patients," he added.
The study also shows that the subjects who took the drug were nearly twice as likely to have a stroke as those who received a placebo - 101 subjects compared with 53.
"This is a surprise," said Toto.
"Clinicians should not expect that treatment of anemia with darbepoetin and other drugs in its class will reduce their risk of cardiovascular events or prevent their kidney disease from progressing.
"If a clinician is treating a patient for fatigue and other symptoms of anemia and the symptoms do not improve, they should consider stopping the drug, because it may expose the patient to increased risk of stroke," he added.