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Chronic anemia and fatigue in elderly patients: results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover exploratory study with epoetin alfa.

Author(s): Agnihotri P, Telfer M, Butt Z, Jella A, Cella D, Kozma CM, Ahuja M, Riaz S, Akamah J

Affiliation(s): Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, Mercy Medical Group, Sacramento, California, USA.

Publication date & source: 2007-10, J Am Geriatr Soc., 55(10):1557-65. Epub 2007 Aug 14.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effect of epoetin alfa treatment on hemoglobin (Hb), fatigue, quality of life (QOL), and mobility in elderly patients with chronic anemia. DESIGN: An exploratory, 32 week, randomized, double-blind, crossover treatment trial. PARTICIPANTS: Sixty-two community-dwelling individuals aged 65 and older with chronic anemia (Hb </=11.5 g/dL). INTERVENTION: Subcutaneous epoetin alfa or placebo weekly for 16 weeks (Phase I) with crossover to the opposite treatment (Phase II). MEASUREMENTS: Hb and QOL scores from the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT) measurement system. Mobility was assessed as a secondary outcome using the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test. RESULTS: Of the 62 subjects enrolled, complete data were analyzed for 58 in Phase I and 54 participants in Phase II. Of those enrolled, most were African American (95%) and female (85%) and had multiple comorbidities and a mean age+/-standard deviation of 76.1+/-7.2. Mean baseline Hb was 10.5+/-0.9 g/dL (7.3-11.5). In Phase I, 67% of those taking epoetin alfa, and in Phase II, 69% of those taking epoetin alfa had an increase in Hb of more than 2 g/dL, significantly more than those taking placebo (P<.001). Similarly, elderly participants significantly improved on the fatigue and anemia subscales of the FACIT across phases (all P<.05). No significant differences were found between treatment and placebo on TUG scores. Epoetin alfa was well tolerated. CONCLUSION: In this trial involving predominantly older African-American women with anemia, a direct relationship existed between increases in Hb during epoetin alfa therapy and improvements in fatigue and QOL.

Page last updated: 2007-10-19

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