The results of a phase 3 trial indicate that darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp) reduces the incidence of red blood cell transfusions in anemic patients that have low and intermediate-1 risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).1

MDS, a common adult bone marrow malady, occurs due to a failure of blood cells to mature inside the person’s bone marrow. This results in a reduced number of healthy red and white blood cells and can render the body more vulnerable to infection, bleeding, or anemia. MDS can be caused as a side effect of radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment for cancer. Approximately 30 000 people in the United States are affected by this syndrome each year.

This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trail was conducted by Amgen. They reported that darbepoetin alfa improved erythroid response and that adverse events were balanced to the trial treatment arms. Adverse events seen more frequently with darbepoetin alfa included myalgia, fatigue, and pyrexia.

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1. Amgen. Phase 3 study demonstrates Aranesp® (darbepoetin alfa) reduces red blood cell transfusions in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) [press release]. PR Newswire Web site. Dated February 15, 2016. Accessed February 16, 2016.