Anemia Drug Omontys Recall, What You Should Know

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2013-02-24 13:54

Sellers of the anemia drug Omontys (peginesatide) have issued a recall of their product less than one year after it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because it may cause severe or fatal hypersensitivity reactions. Here’s what you should know about Omontys.

What is Omontys?

Both Affymax and Takeda, the two companies selling Omontys, issued a statement saying “No new or existing patients should receive Omontys.” All practitioners, clinics, and patients are being notified to stop product use and being offered information on how to return the drug.

But what is Omontys? Peginesatide is prescribed for adults on hemodialysis with anemia (low red blood cell levels) associated with chronic kidney disease. The injectable drug belongs to a category known as synthetic erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESAs), which also includes epoetin alfa (Epogen, Procrit) and darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp).

ESAs are sometimes prescribed for treatment of anemia in people who have chronic kidney failure or who have had chemotherapy or certain treatments for human immunodeficiency virus. The drugs work by stimulating the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells.

The FDA, Affymax, and Takeda have noted that use of Omontys has resulted in fatal anaphylactic reactions in 0.02 percent of the more than 25,000 individuals who have taken the drug since it was approved. These deadly reactions occurred after the first dose of the drug. Overall, about 0.2 percent of users have experienced a severe hypersensitivity reaction.

According to Affymax (the company that discovered the drug), use of Omontys and other ESAs is associated with a list of serious warnings and contraindications. For example:

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