NCLEX Pharm Focus
Does Pharmacology cause you much anxiety? According to the National Council State Board of Nursing (NCSBN), Pharmacological and Parental Therapy represent 12-18% of the RN NCLEX exam while 11-17% represent a portion of the PN NCLEX exam. With this in mind, familiarizing yourself with the commonly asked medications is an important part of your NCLEX preparation.

Epoetin alfa (erythropoietin)

Brand Name(s):

  • Epogen, Procrit

Pharmacologic Class:

  • Recombinant human erythropoietin
  • Anemia caused by chronic renal failure, zidovudine therapy in HIV-infected patients, or chemotherapy
  • Reduce need for allogenic blood transfusion in anemic patients scheduled to have elective, noncardiac, nonvascular surgery


  • Mimics effects of erythropoietin. Functions as a growth factor and as a differentiating factor, enhancing RBC production.

Adverse Reactions:
  • CNS: asthenia, dizziness, fatigue, headache, paresthesia, seizures
  • CV: edema, hypertension, increased clotting of arteriovenous grafts
  • GI: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
  • Metabolic: hyperkalemia, hyperphosphatemia, hyperuricemia
  • Musculoskeletal: arthralgia
  • Respiratory: cough, shortness of breath, upper respiratory infection

Nursing Considerations:

  • Store solution in refrigerator and protect from light.
  • Don’t shake or dilute.
  • Don’t use if solution is discolored or has particulate matter.
  • To prevent deep vein thrombosis, consider prophylaxis.
  • Don’t confuse Epogen with Neupogen.

Patient Teaching:

  • Inform patient that pain or discomfort in limbs and pelvis, and coldness and sweating may occur after injection (usually within 2 hours). Symptoms may last for 12 hours and then disappear.
  • Advise women that they may resume menstruating after therapy and to consider the need for contraception.
Phone: 1-650-303-5488
Office: 90 So. Spruce Ave. Suite P
South San Francisco, CA 94080

D&D Nursing Educators, Inc., 90 So. Spruce Ave. Suite P South San Francisco, CA 94080

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