|Taking Procrit or Epogen on the move
Sep 13, 2000
The doc just prescribed Procrit/Epogen for anemia. (In my 3rd month of treatment with AZT/3TC/Abacavir my viral load went from treatment-naive 10,000 copies to <25, but my hemacrit is down). I am supposed to inject 10,000 units twice a week.
My problem is relatively trivial, but important to me. I travel constantly for my work, and sometimes go for weeks without seeing home. How do I refrigerate the stuff while travelling? I have two 18 hour flights scheduled this week, and I wonder what are the exact temperature parameters for preserving the drug over 1-2 weeks?
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Response from Dr. Frascino
You question is far from trivial and one that I have not been asked recently so I'm glad you took the time to write to us.
First off your dose is a bit unusual for a starting dose. The recommended starting dose is 10,000 units three times per week or 40,000 units once per week. The dose is then adjusted based on your response. The guidelines for transporting the medication are slightly different depending on which concentration you are using. For instance if you are using the 10,000 unit vials, they are stable for 2 weeks at room temperature. The 40,000-unit vial is stable for 7 days at room temperature unopened.
Whenever you travel with the medication you should carry it on your person rather than pack it in the luggage as it should not be vigorously shaken ... considering the way baggage handlers toss luggage around would definitely be considered vigorous shaking! Of course if you fly United the chance of your luggage even getting to the same destination you do is also a worry.
The medication should not be exposed to temperatures above 84 degrees. It's best to keep it in an insulated bag with a cooling pack. But don't use those freezer packs because the medication should not be frozen either.
To sum up, if your trips are 1-2 weeks and you are using the 10,000 unit vials ' no problem with keeping them at room temp (so long as room temp is not above 84 degrees or below freezing ... if you are staying in a hotel where room temp is below freezing or above 84 degrees it's time to change hotels). Hotel room mini-bar refrigerators (not freezers) work well when they are available.
If this doesn't answer your question please feel free to call the clinical affairs department at Ortho-Biotech for any additional information. Their number is 800-325-7504 prompt#2. You can tell them I sent you!!!
Now I have a question for you ... 18-hour flights??? Do you have business at the South Pole??? Or perhaps you are an astronaut??? At any rate what do you do with all the frequent flyer miles???
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