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    What causes darkening of skin after taking Epogen?

Posted on Sat, 8 Jul 2017 in Cancer
Question: My husband, an ESRD on dialysis 3X weekly is taking epoietin alfa during his bi Monday dialysis treatment. This is because he's scheduled to have mitral value repair (not stent) surgery on 7/31/17 & for religious reasons, doesn't accept blood transfusions. (The cardio thoracic surgeons want his hemoglobin to reach 14 & with the treatment in the last 6 weeks, his hemoglobin is now at 13.3) Although his creatinine clearance rate from dialysis is GOOD, they checked again today, since he's been on epogen, his skin has turned 3 shades darker, is this a side - effect from the increased epogen use. Yes we saw his Nephrologist recently on another issue & plan to ask him about this at Jim's next appointment. I'm very curios because I don't read about epogen causing this skin change anywhere. Thank you.
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 5 hours later
Brief Answer:
Erythropoietin itself does not cause skin darkening

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for your query.

I don't think this is a side effect of Epogen. Erythropoietin itself does not cause skin darkening. In fact, ESRD can cause skin pigmentation. This is not entirely related to high creatinine so that even after dialysis it can persist.

Another possible explanation is that previously he was pale from anemia and now with increasing hemoglobin, he looks darker.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask further.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
Answered by
Dr. Indranil Ghosh


Practicing since :2004

Answered : 1532 Questions


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