International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 1115–1125 | Cite as

Methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta versus darbepoetin alfa for anemia in non-dialysis-dependent CKD: a systematic review

  • Noor Alsalimy
  • Ahmed AwaisuEmail author
Review Article


Background Anemia management in non-dialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients is associated with cardiovascular and cost benefits, slows decline in renal function, and prevents mortality. Different reviews have focused on evaluating the safety and efficacy of methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta (MPG-EPO), a continuous erythropoietin receptor activator, in CKD patients regardless of dialysis dependency and others have studied this novel agent exclusively in CKD patients receiving dialysis. Aim of the review To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of MPG-EPO compared with other erythropoiesis stimulating agents (in particular darbepoetin alfa) for the treatment of anemia in non-dialysis-dependent CKD patients. Methods A systematic review of original studies published mainly in MEDLINE, Cochrane Database, ScienceDirect, ProQuest, clinical trials registries, and Google Scholar was carried out to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing MPG-EPO with other erythropoiesis stimulating agents or placebo among patients with anemia of CKD who were not yet receiving dialysis. Data were independently extracted by two reviewers using standardized data abstraction tool. Results Four trials involving 1,155 patients were included in the review. The changes in hemoglobin level from the baseline reported by the reviewed studies demonstrate that MPG-EPO was clinically non-inferior to darbepoetin alfa. In addition, the studies documented that MPG-EPO-treated patients experienced a lower rate of hemoglobin level above the target range of 12–13 g/dL than darbepoetin-treated patients. The proportion of patients requiring RBC transfusion was higher among patients who received darbepoetin alfa than those who received MPG-EPO. However, the time to hemoglobin response was longer with MPG-EPO than with darbepoetin. Finally, the incidences of serious adverse events were similar between the two therapeutic agents. Conclusion There are currently only few well-designed head-to-head RCTs investigating the efficacy and safety of MPG-EPO compared with other ESAs in non-dialysis-dependent patients. MPG-EPO therapy compared with darbepoetin alfa has demonstrated favorable effects of increasing and maintaining hemoglobin concentrations to recommended target levels. This mini-review is not conclusive due to limited number of studies. Therefore, the beneficial effects and tolerability of MPG-EPO among non-dialysis-dependent CKD patients should be further investigated, given the economic and clinical benefits of managing anemia in this population.


Anemia CERA Chronic kidney disease EPO Erythropoiesis stimulating agent Methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta Pre-dialysis Review 



This study was self-initiated and self-supported; no funding was obtained for the conduct of the study.

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no competing interests to declare.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geriatrics SectionRumailah HospitalDohaQatar
  2. 2.College of PharmacyQatar UniversityDohaQatar

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