Current Drug Therapy

Anemia of chronic kidney disease: When normalcy becomes undesirable

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Partial correction of the anemia associated with kidney disease reduces transfusion requirements, but normalizing the hemoglobin level does not confer survival benefit and may be harmful. In accordance with the FDA recommendations and the available evidence, we agree that the goal for treating anemia associated with kidney disease should be partial correction: the upper boundary of hemoglobin should be 12 g/dL. However, transient trespasses beyond the upper boundary in day-to-day clinical practice should not trigger a panic response in the health care provider (as seen with hyperkalemia, for instance). Rather, they should result in appropriate and timely treatment adjustments.

Further efforts should explore the merits of treatment algorithms that minimize rapid changes in hemoglobin levels, as well as dose limitation of ESAs and co-interventions among hyporesponders.

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