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Procrit or transfusion - in need of some advice


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My 84-year-old father's red blood count has fallen, in part due to the copious amount of blood he is coughing up at this time. His pulmonary doctor has recommended a two-pint transfusion, and his oncologist feels that given his present state of health, two or three weekly shots of Procrit would be the better alternative. He was diagnosed almost two years ago with NSCLC, and in September of 2002 he was further diagnosed with malignant pleural effusion. His health has been going downhill for the last few months, and at this point he is very, very weak.

Getting the transfusion means making a trip to the hospital, which is over an hour away, and then an eight-hour day once we arrive - four hours for the transfusion itself, and an additional four hours for "cross and type" blood work and the results to come in. Getting the Procrit injection means I can take him to a local doctor.

Does anyone have any information as to the pros/cons of either of these two options? I'm assuming the transfusion would give him a more immediate lift, but if anyone has any experience with Procrit and its helpfulness for this problem, I would love to hear from them.

Thank you all so much for your time - it is deeply appreciated.

Nina

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Hi Nina,.

I know it is an inconvenience to have the transfusion. BUt it did wonders for my dad. He literally had to be wheeled and carried into that room, and he looked miserable the enitre 6-7 hours, but a few days later he was re-energized and I think it was really worth it. Three days later at his Oncologist he received an (arenesp) shot and that maintained him throughout that round of chemo.

Arenesp works very much like Procrit. Also, if you didn't know, it can take up to two weeks for Procrit to be in your system to do its job, and a blood transfusion is immediate. You just need to assess the situation ans see what he wants to do. I'd go for the transfusion AND the procrit shot!

My two cents. Good luck and keep us posted.

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I am taking Procritt weekly and while it seems to help a little, it is not doing enough. I have had to have one transfusion already and will be having another one tomorrow. The transfusion is an immeadiate fix and really helps a lot. I am with Katie get the transfusion AND get the Procritt. They work hand in hand to keep you going.

Blessings

Betty

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I too speak from experience. Go for both. It's the best thing, one for short term, one for long term.

Hope your dad starts feeling a little better soon.

Is there a reason they can't cross match and type with a sample collected and sent locally? I can't see why they need to have you sit for the four hours....

Good luck,

MaryAnn

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As one who was starting to feel like Vampira because of the number of transfusions I got, I would recommend the transfusion! I was not a good candidate for the procrit shots due to screwed up blood to start with but I ALWAYS felt better with in a couple of hours of a transfusion. If your Father is coughing up blood they will probably want to get that under control also. It takes 1 1/2 hour for me to be typed and crossmatched and 4 hours or so to get 2 units. I usually slept or read a book while hooked up to the IV. Gave me a chance to take a daytime nap and not feel guilty about it!! Prayers for your Father and your Family.

God Bless,

MO

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Speaking from experience, too - get 'em both!

I had already been started on Procrit, but due to the length of time it takes to start doing anything, my counts continued to drop, and ended up at the hospital for a transfusion, and they continued the Procrit as well.

Hugs and prayers,

SandyS

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As others have said, get both! The transfusion will work almost immediately, the Procrit (epoetin) or Aranesp (darbepoetin) will take longer to work, but may prevent future transfusions. There is a strong relationship between cancer fatigue and anemia (although there are many other reasons for the fatigue). Epoetin is less expensive per dose, so many hospitals use it vs. darbepoetin. But darbepoetin can be administered less frequently, so the costs may be similar overall.

Does he really have to go to the hospital an hour away for the transfusion? I wonder if there is a hospital nearer to you where you could go; a transfusion is a transfusion; he doesn't need to be in the same hospital as his oncologist.

Even if you do have to drive an hour, I'll bet the difference in his well-being will be worth it. Best of luck to you, Teresa

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My husband had a combination of both and did very well. If you have to choose between one and the other, I can agree that the transfusion will work almost immediately. Dennis felt so much better after the transfusion and like Katie said, it was almost immediately. The Procrit also helped but must have time to build up in the system. I don't believe you could tell the difference until after a few injections. Keeping you in my prayers.

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  • 1 month later...

Dear KatieB, John, Betty, MaryAnn, MO, SandyS, Teresa, Ann and Karen:

I just wanted to offer a very belated thanks to all of you for taking the time to respond to my post. I was in such a quandary trying to decide what to do for my dad at that time, and as usual, all of the wonderful people on this board pulled through with helpful information once again.

The transfusion was helpful at the time, but my father has just continued to cough up blood daily, and is continuing to go downhill. I think we're coming down the home stretch now.

Anyway, while I'm here I'd like to say God bless each and every one of you, as well as every single person that takes the time to respond to the posts on this board. In my opinion you are all angels here on earth. It takes a lot of time and energy to follow up regularly with all of the people that come here seeking advice and solace. Unfortunately I am not a regular contributor by any stretch of the imagination, but I am a regular reader. I have been helped tremendously by all of the stories, trials and tribulations that I have read here, and my father has been the benefactor of the knowledge I have gained from all of you, as well as the wonderful people that are no longer with us.

Again, a very belated but sincere thank-you - I hope you're all believers in the phrase, "better late than never"!

Nina

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DITTO. My father had an aranesp shot but it wasn't enough. a week later he had to go to the doctor and had to be wheeled there and wheeled to the hospital. they gave him 3 units of blood and it was amazing. he is still gettinig the aranesp shot as well.

Hi Nina,.

I know it is an inconvenience to have the transfusion. BUt it did wonders for my dad. He literally had to be wheeled and carried into that room, and he looked miserable the enitre 6-7 hours, but a few days later he was re-energized and I think it was really worth it. Three days later at his Oncologist he received an (arenesp) shot and that maintained him throughout that round of chemo.

Arenesp works very much like Procrit. Also, if you didn't know, it can take up to two weeks for Procrit to be in your system to do its job, and a blood transfusion is immediate. You just need to assess the situation ans see what he wants to do. I'd go for the transfusion AND the procrit shot!

My two cents. Good luck and keep us posted.

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