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Occasionally DCCN will print press releases pertinent to critical care nurses.


This material is from the Journal of the American Medical Association and concerns the results of PROCRIT in critically ill patients who require red blood cell transfusions. Here is a brief review of the findings.


1. Critically ill patients who received one weekly PROCRIT (Exporting Alfa) were 10% less likely to receive red blood cell transfusions (RBCS) than those patients in the placebo group.


2. There was a 19% reduction in the total units of Rocs transfused in the PROCRIT versus the placebo group.


3. Ortho Biotech Products, L.P., and marketer of PROCRIT supported this study.


4. More that four million patients are admitted to intensive care units (ICU year), and approximately 35-50% of all patients admitted to an ICU today receive on average five RBC units during their stay. 1,2


5. The multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolled 1302 critically ill patients and assessed the efficacy of one weekly dosing of PROCRIT 40,000 units compared to placebo in reducing the need for RBC transfusions. Comparing the percentage of patients in each treatment group who received any RBC transfusion between study days 1 and 28 assessed the efficacy endpoint upon which the two treatments were compared.


6. Patients were randomized to receive either PROCRIT (n = 650) or placebo (n = 652) by subcutaneous injection on ICU day three and continued weekly for patients who remained in the hospital for a total of three doses. Patients who remained in the ICU on study day 21 received a fourth dose. Patients receiving PROCRIT were less likely to be transfused.


7. Anemia is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body lacks enough red blood cells to carry oxygen from the lungs to the tissues and organs throughout the body. Many critically ill patients experience impairment in the production of RBCs, which contributes to the development and persistence of their anemia. Critically ill patients may be suffering from conditions that make them more prone to anemia, such as cancer, chronic renal failure, or human immunodeficiency virus.


8. PROCRIT stimulates RBC production and has a protein sequence identical to the body's naturally occurring erythropoeitin, which is produced in healthy kidneys.


9. Oncology: PROCRIT is contraindicated in patients with uncontrolled hypertension. The most common side effects are pyrexia, vomiting, shortness of breath, paresthesia, and upper respiratory infection.


10. Nephrology: PROCRIT therapy is generally well tolerated.


11. Immunology: Any adverse experiences associated with PROCRIT were believed to be related to the disease process of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, not to therapy with PROCRIT.


12. For full prescribing information and additional information on PROCRIT and anemia, please refer the http://www.procrit.





1. Vincent JL, Baron JF, Gattinoni L, Reinhart K, et al. Anemia and blood transfusion in critically ill patients. JAMA. 2002; 288:1499-1507. [Context Link]


2. Corwin HL, Abraham E., Fink MP, et al. Anemia and blood transfusion in the critically ill: Current clinical practice in the US-The CRIT Study. Crit Care Med. 2001; 29(suppl):A2. [Context Link]

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