Erythropoietin (also called epo) is a hormone produced by the kidneys in response to decreased oxygen levels in the circulating blood that stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells (RBCs). Anemia in chronic kidney failure mainly develops because diseased kidneys no longer produce adequate amounts of erythropoietin. Replacement of the deficient hormone through erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) therapy, such as Epoetin alfa, Epogen® and Procrit® allows practitioners to keep patients’ hemoglobins (a protein in RBCs that carries oxygen) in a recommended range.
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