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NICE issues EPO guidance

May 29, 2008 1:02 AM UTC

The U.K.'s NICE issued guidance that would restrict the use of erythropoietin (EPO) analogs to manage cancer treatment-induced anemia. The guidance recommends against routine use of the drugs for the indication except in combination with IV iron in women receiving platinum-based chemotherapy for ovarian cancer who have symptomatic anemia with a hemoglobin level of 8 g/dL or lower; and in combination with IV iron for patients who cannot receive blood transfusions and whose anemia is likely to have an impact on survival.

NICE concluded that use of the drugs outside of these subgroups was not cost-effective. The agency considered safety data for the drugs, including a recent assessment by EMEA, but said it could not reach a conclusion about whether use of EPO has either a positive or a negative effect on survival. NICE also said that the majority of patients who become anemic do not receive anemia treatment, and those who become moderately or severely anemic are usually given blood transfusions. ...