What Are Erythropoietin Stimulating Agents (ESAs)?
Erythropoietin is a hormone produced in the kidneys that stimulate the production of red blood cells. It is also called erythropoietin-stimulating agent or ESAs.
ESAs stimulate the bone marrow to make more red blood cells. They are most commonly given by injection into the bloodstream, but they can also be taken orally. Furthermore, ESAs also increase the number of red blood cells in the bloodstream. This helps improve oxygen delivery to the body.
This is why ESAs are used to treat people with cancer, chronic kidney disease, and certain types of anemia.
Moreover, ESAs can also be used to treat people who have had a stroke or heart attack.
ESAs are also sometimes given to people who have undergone surgery or other trauma that causes the blood to become less concentrated with oxygen. This is called postoperative or post-traumatic anemia.
ESAs are also said to be used in some sports. The theory is that they can help athletes who have endurance problems to train longer without getting tired. This is, of course controversial, and some sports have banned the use of ESAs, but the findings in this area aren’t conclusive, nevertheless.
Erythropoietin can also be used for people who have a rare genetic disorder called pyruvate kinase deficiency, a condition that causes the liver to overproduce pyruvate and this leads to severe liver damage.
Erythropoietin-Stimulating Agents Do?
- Increase the number of red blood cells in the body: By increasing the red blood cells in the body, erythropoietin-stimulating agents will increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood and thus improve the oxygen delivery to the tissues. This also reduces the risk of blood clots and reduces the need for blood transfusions.
- Stimulates iron metabolism: By doing this, erythropoietin-stimulating agents can prevent anemia by stimulating the production of red blood cells and increasing iron absorption from the intestine. This is important especially in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and who are on dialysis as they may not be able to absorb sufficient iron from their diet.
- Increase the production of hemoglobin: By increasing the production of hemoglobin, erythropoietin-stimulating agents will increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood and thus improve the oxygen delivery to the tissues.
- Increase the ability of the bone marrow to produce red blood cells: This is achieved by increasing the number of stem cells in the bone marrow.
- Reduces the risk of blood clotting: The risk of blood clots is higher in patients who are on dialysis as their blood is constantly exposed to the toxins and the toxins may clog up the blood vessels. By increasing the red blood cells in the body, erythropoietin-stimulating agents will reduce the risk of blood clots.
Types of ESAs
There are different types of ESAs available. Some are used to treat cancer, while others are used to treat chronic kidney disease (CKD).
The ESAs used to treat CKD are darbepoetin alfa and methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta. They are given by injection into the bloodstream. They stimulate the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells and increase the production of hemoglobin.
The ESAs that are used to treat cancer are epoetin alfa and darbepoetin alfa.
What Is Recombinant Erythropoietin?
Recombinant erythropoietin is a form of erythropoietin that is produced in a genetically engineered cell line.
It is essentially is a drug that is produced by recombining human erythropoietin with an antibody, which makes it safer than the natural form of erythropoietin, also called recombinant human erythropoietin or rHuEpo.
It is given by injection into the bloodstream to stimulate the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells and increase the production of hemoglobin. It is usually used to treat people with cancer and certain types of anemia.
Besides treating anemia, it may be used for other purposes. It may be used in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy to prevent or treat the side effects of those treatments. It can also be used to boost immunity in patients with immune system problems.
What Are the Side Effects of ESAs?
Besides the usual side effects of any drug, ESAs have some additional side effects. These include:
- Headaches: The headaches are usually mild and last for a short period of time.
- Thrombosis: It is a rare but serious side effect of ESAs. It is a blood clot in one of the blood vessels in the body.
- Infusion reactions: Infusion reactions are also a very common side effect of ESAs. These are usually mild and go away after a short period of time.
- Nausea and vomiting: These are also common side effects of ESAs. They are usually mild and go away after a short period of time.
- Fluid retention: It is a common side effect of ESAs. It is usually mild and goes away after a short period of time.
- Weight gain: It is another common side effect of ESAs. It is usually mild and goes away after a short period of time. It may cause weight gain and fat deposits in your body.
Who Shouldn’t Use ESAs?
- People with Heart disease. It is best to avoid using ESAs if you have any heart disease.
- People with High Blood Pressure. ESAs are not recommended for people who have high blood pressure as they can cause blood pressure to rise.
- People who are allergic to Epoetin Alfa, or some other ingredient used in ESAs
Erythropoietin for Athletes?
There is a theory that ESAs could improve the endurance of an athlete by making their muscles more efficient at using oxygen. There are also some studies that show that it can improve athletic performance and that it also increases the amount of oxygen that the body can use during exercise. This means that you can exercise longer and harder.
Some studies, on the other hand, suggest that it also has a positive effect on one’s ability to recover from exercise. It has been suggested that ESAs may be useful for people who play contact sports such as football, ice hockey, rugby, and soccer.
Indeed, there have been reports of some athletes using it to increase their endurance. In a study done on athletes, it was found that a single dose of ESAs increased exercise time by about 20 minutes.
However, the use of ESAs in athletes is controversial, and in some places, it’s considered doping.
Are ESAs Used in Competitive Cycling?
ESAs have been used among competitive cyclists, but officially, they have not been shown to improve endurance. This somewhat contradicts other studies that suggest cyclists who take ESAs before and after a race have been able to ride longer and faster and have also been able to perform better during longer races.
Whatever the case may be, they are not approved for use in cycling, and in most competitions, they’re considered doping.
ESAs for Weight Loss?
One unproven off-label use for ESAs is weight loss. People say it boosts their metabolism and helps to burn fat. This is apparently because ESAs can help your body make more red blood cells.
These cells contain hemoglobin which is the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. When your body makes more red blood cells, it has more hemoglobin and this means that you have more oxygen available to all parts of your body. This makes it easier for your body to burn fat.
Whether ESAs can really help one lose weight is controversial, and some experts say it does the opposite. Also, many experts say it is not a good idea to take ESAs if you want to lose weight.
This is because ESAs can actually make you gain weight. They do this by increasing your appetite. This means that you eat more and have more cravings for food.
Erythropoietin is an important drug. It is used to treat people with cancer and certain types of anemia. It is also used to boost immunity in patients with immune system problems.
A great number of people use ESAs to treat their anemia. Some use ESAs to prevent or treat the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Although there is a growing interest in the benefits of ESAs among athletes, more studies need to be done.
If you are considering using ESAs, it’s important to talk to your doctor and learn the side effects of ESAs before you use them.