Aranesp vs Procrit: Which is Better for Treating Kidney Disease?

Categories: Drug Prices, Drug Safety | Posted On:

Chronic kidney disease, also known as chronic kidney failure, is a serious condition that needs to be treated with care.

Scientists have created many ways to improve the health and comfort of patients with this illness. One method of treatment is done through injections. But Aranesp vs Procrit, which is right for you?

Anemia, a condition where your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen, is a common symptom of kidney disease. This single symptom can create a range of problems:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • And More

Treating anemia is an important part of treating chronic kidney failure, and it’s needed to maintain your quality of life.

Thankfully, there is more than one medicine available to help you feel better.

Aranesp vs Procrit

Anemia often develops in the early stages of kidney disease, and most people with loss of kidney function or kidney failure have anemia.

A damaged or diseased kidney does not make enough EPO (erythropoietin), which is a hormone that helps the bone marrow create healthy red blood cells. With a decrease of EPO comes a decrease of red blood cells and less oxygen available to the body.

Procrit injections along with another medicine, Epogen, are types of epoetin alfa, while Aranesp is a form of darbepoetin alfa. Both forms of medicine have been created to treat anemia in patients with chronic kidney disease.

The Basics

Both Aranesp and Procrit are available only via prescription, and both are used for the treatment of anemia associated with chronic renal failure. They are also both able to help with anemia brought on by chemotherapy.

Procrit injections have a few additional applications.

Often used to treat drug-induced anemia and anemia prior to surgery, Procrit is a step above in usefulness.

Both medications are given via injection as instructed by your physician. This can mean an injection under the skin, or directly into a vein. You will be able to administer this medication at home after receiving instructions from your doctor.

In both cases, the medication must be used regularly for the best results and kept to a well-maintained schedule.


Procrit has the longest clinical track record of these two medicines, but Aranesp provides comparable results without needing to be taken as often. Not only does this make the process less stressful but it’s cost effective as well.

Additionally, Aranesp does not contain albumin. A type of simple protein, albumin may cause allergic reactions in some patients.

Both of these medications will reduce your need for blood transfusions by boosting your body’s ability to make new red blood cells. Your doctor will monitor you and adjust your dose as your red blood cell levels improve.

Side Effects

In the battle of Aranesp vs Procrit, the winner for side effects is Aranesp by a landslide.

There are three possible side effects of an Aranesp shot, and they all have a low chance of occurring. They include the following:

  • Stroke
  • Blood clot in vein
  • Any blood clot event

Procrit has upwards of twenty-six different side effects, including:

  • Rash
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • High blood pressure

There are many more, but this does not mean that a Procrit injection isn’t the right choice. If you’re concerned about side effects, speak to your doctor about what you should be looking out for if you take Procrit.

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Remember, this medication has been around for far longer than Aranesp, which means more reports to gather data on side effects. You can easily experience none or minor side effects from Procrit.


Your cost for either of these medications varies by your dose and insurance.

Both of these medications are expensive. You may need to plan for this cost, as it’s important that your doses are kept regular.

Aranesp has an average per unit cost of around $200, while Procrit can range from $190-$269.

Don’t be afraid to search for discounts, contact the manufacturer, or even compare costs between pharmacies.


As of June 2011, the usage of both Aranesp and Procrit have been changing.

Due to the risk of stroke, heart attack, and death, the method of determining the correct dosage for patients has changed. If you’ve been taking Aranesp or Procrit prior to 2011, you may want to speak to your doctor to make sure they’re using the new requirements.

Previously, a target hemoglobin (red blood cell) goal was created. Throughout the use of either of these medications, your dosing would be determined by the desire to meet these goals.

Instead, your doctor should use the smallest dose of these medications that are needed to reach a point that you have a lower need for transfusions. It’s also important to make sure your red blood cell levels don’t become too high.

There are some differences in using these medications whether you’re on dialysis or not.

These new requirements show that it’s important to weigh the benefits of these medicines against the risk of major side effects. Each case will be unique, and there is no reason to not use Aranesp or Procrit. You just need to use them with care.

Want to Learn More?

It’s hard to say in a match of Aranesp vs Procrit which comes out on top.

When it comes to medication, each person is different. You may find yourself confused, so don’t hesitate to seek advice from your physician.

Whether Aranesp or Procrit is right for you is up to your doctor. Each case of renal failure varies greatly, and while one medication may seem perfect for you, it could easily be the other that makes you feel the best.

Both of these medications can be great choices, but you may have to take the time to try them both. Don’t let this dishearten you. Healing is a step-by-step process and we’re here to help.

Looking for more information about how to stay well informed about your medication? Let us know about your medical concerns below. Or, check the rest of our blog to see if we’ve already created an article perfect for you.

Which medication do you prefer?

Tell us all about your decision below and then SHARE it on social media!

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs.

aranesp vs procrit

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