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Iron and Eprex/Procrit Doses

Hello all,

Anyone on procrit/eprex also given IRON supplements? I understand that iron loading is a no-no in Hep C, but the drug monograph is pretty insistent that iron should be given while on the med...

And how high have people gone with eprex/procrit? I'm on 40,000IU/wk, my doc is proposing putting it up to 60,000IU/wk. Anyone have any experience with the higher dose?
10 Responses
179856 tn?1333550962
I took 80,000 epo for 48 weeks then dropped down to 40,000 for the next 24 weeks at Dr. Jacobson's order.

I don't know of anyone on here who would consider taking iron at all since we've all been explicitly warned not to because iron is crucial for viral replication.  Much better odds just taking the epo/procrit and working towards that SVR goal. With the absurd amount of riba I was taking I needed the two shots a week - which we dropped to about once every five days as that kept me at 10.5 and with the 2x a week I just went too high.

So sometimes you do need to tailor it up a little bit to find a comfort zone you can live at without overdoing it.  As per the black box warning that isn't a good thing to do but I don't remember the exact numbers off hand of how high they don't want you to get too fast.

I'm not sure why you'd want to risk taking iron - I'd really think that one through if I was you. The procrit should do the job on it's own.

87972 tn?1322664839
Love your nom de plume!

I understand that iron is essential for transport of oxygen; if a patient is iron-deficient, epo will be essentially worthless. I assume your doctor has performed iron studies? It’s one thing to have high iron storage problems in hepatic tissue, but another if the blood is deficient.

I’m not personally familiar with epo; I’ve never required it myself. I’ve heard anecdotal reports from other members here that have taken up to 80,000 units/week; but that was prior to the U.S. FDA black box warning issued in ’07:


I’d definitely stay with your doctor’s advice on this one; and good luck—

87972 tn?1322664839
Avatar universal
I've just been prescribed both Eprex and iron, for essentially what Bill said...my blood is iron deficient and the eprex will be less effective as a result.  I started the iron on Sunday and I start the Eprex this week.  I'll be at 40,000 IU / week also.  

From what I understand, iron loading is a no-no if you're high iron, which alot of us are and what I started out at.  Now I seem to be running low on alot of things.  So I'm on B12, folic acid and now iron and eprex.   I'm on that until my levels get up OUT of dosage reduction range.

I don't quite grab it completely myself, the iron thing, and still looking into it  Just wanted to let you know you aren't the only one.

Avatar universal
after 6 wks my hgb was at 9.5.  I think I started talking giberish and didnt make sense even to myself.  I took 1 shot procrit 2 wks ago and am now feeling pretty normal again.  My doc said he doesnt like giving shots weekly. 1 shot procrit and monitor I guess till my count goes down again.  Which I really dont want to go thru that again.  I was told not to take iron suppl either.  Eat red meat only twice weekly as to not overload on iron.  
This tx is such a balancing act . good luck
Avatar universal
fg - as Bill wrote, Fe concentration during tx is a bit of a tightrope act. On one hand excess Fe is a no-no for the HCV-infected because excess concentration has been associated with enhanced viral replication and more rapid fibrosis progression, see eg


On the other, without a certain level of circulating Fe we're toast as it's an essential cofactor for hemoglobin's oxygen-binding function.  Wikipedia has a very nice article on HGb -


note the Fe ions coordinated by the heme group. Ribavirin accumulates in Hgb-containing red blood cells and kills them off (hemolytic anemia) which can be remedied by  epo ; however Hgb without the trace amount of necessary iron can't do its job.

Bill: hope you're surviving the heat; must be getting *very, very* close now. Thanks for that FDA warning link - seems a bit scary.
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