Erythropoietin (EPO) is a medication used to stimulate the production of new red blood cells, which is impaired in individuals with kidney failure. Unfortunately, however, the treatment may increase the risk of hip fractures.
In an analysis published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research that examined 1997-2013 records from two large U.S. databases, investigators found that EPO doses administered to patients with kidney failure on hemodialysis fluctuated widely over time, and hip fracture rates closely tracked the average dose of EPO doses used in patients.
Patients with renal failure can benefit from EPO treatment; however, as with all medications, a full understanding of potential drug-associated risks favors the likelihood that a positive risk-benefit balance can be achieved with EPO treatment."
Constance Tom Noguchi, PhD, Study Senior Author, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases