Objective: To investigate whether a weekly 1500 IU/kg dose of recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) is more effective than a dose of 750 IU/kg/week in preventing anemia and reducing the transfusion need in infants with birth weights less than 1000 gm.
Study design: In a randomized, double-blind, multicenter trial, 184 infants with birth weights between 500 and 999 gm were treated with either rhEPO 750 (low-dose group) or 1500 IU/kg/week (high-dose group) from day 3 of life until 37 weeks' corrected age.
Results: Thirty-two percent of the infants in each group did not receive any transfusion during the treatment period. The total volume of erythrocytes received was similar in each group. The success rate, defined as no transfusion needed and hematocrit value 0.30 L/L or greater, was 27.6% in the low-dose and 29.5% in the high-dose group (p = 0.96).
Conclusion: Doubling the rhEPO dose of 750 IU/kg/week is not indicated in infants with birth weights less than 1000 gm.