Dialysis patients treated with Epoetin alfa show improved anemia symptoms: A new analysis of the Canadian Erythropoietin Study Group trial
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The health-related quality of life (HRQOL) claims in the current Epoetin alfa label are based on the reanalyses of the exercise and physical function data from the Canadian Erythropoietin Study Group trial. The reanalysis was done to comply with the Food and Drug Administration's requirement of using statistical methods that are currently standard in evaluating clinical trial data. Presented here are HRQOL results associated with anemia. The Canadian Erythropoietin Study Group trial was a multicenter, double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial evaluating the effects of Epoetin alfa on HRQOL in anemic hemodialysis patients. A total of 118 patients who were 18-75 years old, on hemodialysis for >3 months, who had a hemoglobin <9.0 g/dL, and did not have coronary artery disease or diabetes mellitus, were randomized to either receive placebo (n=40), or receive intravenous Epoetin alfa to achieve a target hemoglobin of 9.5-11.0 g/dL (n=40) or a target of 11.5-13.0 g/dL (n=38). Patients were followed for 6 months. The two Epoetin alfa-treatment groups were combined for all analyses performed. This post hoc analysis was conducted using an intent-to-treat repeated measures mixed model analysis of variance using Bonferroni's multiplicity correction. The Epoetin alfa-treated group showed a statistically significant improvement in the Kidney Disease Questionnaire symptom of fatigue in comparison with placebo. Additionally, the change in hemoglobin at 2 months was correlated with change in fatigue, energy, shortness of breath, and weakness, but had minimal effect on depression. These analyses confirm previously reported results, which indicate that treating hemodialysis patients with an erythropoiesis-stimulating agent improves HRQOL.