Treatments for Anemia

Treatment with zidovudine in patients with HIV may cause anemia. Treatments for anemia may include iron, vitamin B12, blood transfusions, or erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs).

A blood transfusion is a procedure in which blood from a donor is given to you through an intravenous (IV) line. Transfusions are avoided in HIV/AIDS patients because they have been shown to increase the risk of opportunistic infections and death. Your doctor will determine if a blood transfusion is needed.

ESAs are a class of drugs that stimulate the bone marrow to make more red blood cells. PROCRIT®, an ESA, is used in HIV patients to treat anemia that is caused by AZT to raise or maintain red blood cell levels and reduce the need for blood transfusion.