Background/Aims: Finding the lowest effective dose of erythropoietin-stimulating agents is critical in the management of renal anemia. We evaluated the efficacy of converting darbepoetin to CERA at doses lower than those usually recommended. Methods: We selected consecutive non-dialysis chronic kidney disease patients treated with darbepoetin doses ≤40 µg/week in absence of iron deficiency, recent blood transfusion, bleeding, neoplasia, myocardial infarction/stroke in the last 3 months. Darbepoetin ≤20 µg/week was shifted to CERA 75 µg/month, while darbepoetin 21–40 µg/week to CERA 100 µg/month. Primary endpoint was the change in hemoglobin (Hb goal, 11–13 g/dl) at month 3, 6, 9 and 12. Results: Studied patients (n = 37) were aged 70 ± 13 years and GFR was 30 ± 12 ml/min/1.73 m2; prevalence of males, diabetes and prior cardiovascular disease was 43, 45 and 40%, respectively. Before switching, efficacy population received darbepoetin 18 ± 10 µg/week with 28 patients receiving ≤20 µg/week. Prevalence of Hb goal at baseline was 75.7% and did not change at months 3 (70.3%), 6 (70.3%), 9 (72.2%), and 12 (80.0%). CERA dose remained unchanged during the study (81 ± 11, 82 ± 16, 91 ± 30, 90 ± 54 and 88 ± 61 µg/month). Out of the 438 visits performed, CERA dose was increased in 52 (11.9%) and reduced in 36 (8.2%) visits. Blood pressure, Hb, GFR, transferrin saturation and ferritin did not change. Conclusions: In chronic kidney disease patients treated with darbepoetin doses ≤40 µg/week, CERA can be efficaciously used at doses lower than those recommended.

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