Epogen Pointers for Excellent Nursing
Anemia is a condition characterized by the inadequacy of red blood cells, components that deliver oxygen to various parts of the body. This disorder is hallmarked by symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, tachycardia and pallor.
To cure this illness, doctors usually prescribe Epogen. As such, this medication is commonly found in the NCLEX.
Indications for Use
Generically known as Epoietin Alfa, Epogen is categorized as a recombinant human erythropoietin. It boosts the production of glycoproteins in the kidneys, which then increases the synthesis of red blood cells in the bone marrow.
Epogen is prescribed in patients with anemia related to the following:
- Chronic renal failure, especially those on dialysis
- Renal failure in ages 1-16 years old, requiring dialysis
- Zidovudine therapy for HIV-AIDS
Apart from anemia treatment, Epogen is also used to reduce allogenic blood transfusions in patients undergoing surgery. Other indications included pruritus secondary to renal failure, myelodysplastic syndrome and chronic inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis.
Assessment is an integral part of Epogen therapy. As such, make sure to take the patient’s history and note for hypersensitivity to mammalian cell-derived products/human albumin, uncontrolled hypertension and lactation.
As for physical examination, obtain pertinent information such as the patient’s vital signs, affect, reflexes and urinary output prior to administration. Ensure that lab exams such as CBC, Hematocrit, Serum iron, electrolytes and renal function tests are extracted accordingly.
NCLEX Nursing Interventions
When preparing Epogen, remember to gently mix the solution. Do not shake the vial, as it might denature the glycoprotein. Additionally, use only one dose per vial and avoid re-entering it. Discard the vial after use, even if there is still something remaining in the container.
Avoid giving Epogen with any other drug or medication.
Epogen should be administered thrice weekly. Intravenous or subcutaneous are the preferred routes, though it can be given directly to the venous access line of dialysis patients. Prior and after administration, evaluate the access line for signs of clotting.
Make sure that the patient’s Hematocrit is checked prior to Epogen therapy. This will determine the accurate dosage for the client. Additionally, check the patient’s serum iron to evaluate if supplemental iron is needed.
Remember to place patients receiving Epogen on seizure precaution, as it can occur with the drug.
Important NCLEX Teaching Points
As Epogen needs to be given three times a week, create an administration schedule for the patient so that he can comply. Additionally, create a schedule of blood extraction tests handy, so the appropriate dosage can be determined.
As for side effects, inform the patient that these are normal:
- Joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
The following, however, are warning signs that should be reported to the doctor or the nurse:
- Difficulty of breathing
- Chest pain
- Severe headache
Knowing the following facts will definitely make you an effective nurse. Ensure your patient’s health and safety by studying the practice NCLEX questions at nclexpreceptor.com.