Erythropoietin-stimulating agents in the management of anemia of end-stage renal disease patients on regular hemodialysis: A prospective randomized comparative study from Qatar

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Despite extensive use, to the best of our knowledge, no trial has simultaneously compared the three currently used erythropoietin-stimulating agents (ESAs) in a prospective manner in the treatment of anemia of end-stage renal disease patients. All hemodialysis patients in Qatar who were treated with short-acting epoetin alfa or beta have been screened. Eligible patients had been prospectively randomized, either to continue on the previous regimen of epoetin or to receive darbepoetin alfa or continuous erythropoietin receptor activator (CERA) for a total period of 40 weeks. All groups were assessed at the end of the study for safety and efficacy parameters. A total of 327 eligible patients were randomized. Mean hemoglobin concentration remained constant within the recommended target range (11–12 g/dL) throughout the study in the three studied groups. The percentage of patients who reached the target range was constantly above 50% in the second half of the study among CERA group patients who also had significantly lower mean number of dose adjustments as compared with the other two groups (P = 0.001). Similarly, the number of discontinuations of ESA among epoetin, darbepoetin, and CERA groups was 17, 19, and 9, respectively (P = 0.042). The frequencies of adverse events were similar in all groups. This study has specifically compared the effect of ESA type on the variability of serum hemoglobin levels in hemodialysis patients. Furthermore, it confirmed the efficacy and safety of once monthly CERA for maintaining tight hemoglobin control within recommended target ranges.

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