Erythropoietin (EPO) - Facts and Mode of Action: Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman, MD
Last Updated on Nov 02, 2017
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which doctor should I consult for anemia?

In the event of anemia, the family physician will recommend a blood test to measure the hemoglobin count and to determine the need for EPO and may refer to a nephrologist (kidney specialist) or hematologist (specialist who treats blood diseases).

2. What is the normal value of erythropoietin?

The normal value of erythropoietin in the body is 15 U/l. Epo levels may be reduced in kidney disease leading to anemia. It can be increased in certain conditions such as kidney tumor and a condition called primary polycythemia associated with excess red cell production in the marrow.

3. When is erythropoietin administered to patients?

Predialysis patients or patients on continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis are treated with Epoetin or Darbepoetin alpha. Based on the hemoglobin level of the patient, erythropoietin can be administered either once, twice, or thrice in a week.

4. How is erythropoietin administered to patients?

Erythropoietin is administered either via subcutaneous, intraperitoneal, or intravenous routes.

5. What are the outcomes of erythropoietin treatment?

Erythropoietin increases the levels of hemoglobin, treats anemia, and improves the quality of life of an individual.

6. What happens when you lack EPO?

You develop anemia in the absence of EPO.

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