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BACKGROUND - No previous randomized controlled studies have been reported examining de novo, once every 4 weeks (Q4W) administration of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. We report results from a randomized multinational study that compared continuous erythropoietin receptor activator (C.E.R.A.) Q4W with darbepoetin alfa once weekly (QW) or every 2 weeks (Q2W) for the correction of anaemia in non-dialysis CKD patients.
METHODS - Patients were randomized (1:1) to receive either 1.2 μg/kg C.E.R.A. Q4W or darbepoetin alfa QW/Q2W during a 20-week correction period and an 8-week evaluation period. Two primary end points were assessed: the haemoglobin (Hb) response rate and the change in average Hb concentration between baseline and evaluation.
RESULTS - The Hb response rate for C.E.R.A. was 94.1%, significantly higher than the protocol-specified 60% response rate [95% confidence interval (CI): 89.1, 97.3; P < 0.0001] and comparable with darbepoetin alfa (93.5%; 95% CI: 88.4, 96.8; P < 0.0001). C.E.R.A. Q4W was non-inferior to darbepoetin alfa QW/Q2W, with similar mean Hb changes from baseline of 1.62 g/dL and 1.66 g/dL, respectively. Patients receiving C.E.R.A. showed a steady rise in Hb, with fewer patients above the target range during the first 8 weeks compared with darbepoetin alfa [39 patients (25.8%) versus 72 patients (47.7%); P < 0.0001]. Adverse event rates were comparable between the treatment groups.
CONCLUSION - C.E.R.A. Q4W successfully corrects anaemia and maintains stable Hb levels within the recommended target range in non-dialysis CKD patients.