This Post is also available in: German

Erythropoietin (EPO) is a growth factor, for the red blood cells (erythrocytes) that is formed in the kidney. It thus indirectly regulates the oxygen content of the body.

The more red blood cells are available to the human blood circulation, the more powerful the whole organism works, because the cells are correspondingly much oxygen available. For this reason, EPO has already been abused by the end of the 1980s for the purpose of boosting performance. Above all, endurance athletes benefit from the effect. However, the increased risk of blood clots increases due to the increased proportion of blood cells in the blood.

In Phase I and II clinical studies, it was demonstrated from 1986 at the University of Washington, Seattle, that the therapy of anemia with recombinant EPO in cancer and renal patients is significantly less contagious than treatments with blood transfusions.

The biotechnology company Amgen (USA) launched the first recombinant EPO product (Epogen, Epoetin α) in 1989. The patent law allows Amgen to exclusively market EPO preparations in the USA until 2015.

Side effects:

Thrombosis, increased blood pressure, myocardial infarction, stroke, flu-like symptoms

On doping list since:

1990, since 2000 also by urine samples detectable.

The problem for the detection of EPO abuse is the significantly shorter half-life of the hormone in the blood compared to the duration of the artificial performance increase. The EPO that has been administered has already been completely eliminated and is no longer detectable after only a few days, whereas the doping effect on performance increases for several days or even weeks. In addition to direct detection, protocols of other blood parameters provide information on possible EPO abuse.

Application / Dosage:

The dosage has to be done individually and starts with the initial measurement of the hematocrit value. If this is still under 50 settled, an initial dose of 2×500 i.E. In the morning of two consecutive days. After these two days, the value should be rechecked to determine a change.

Common usage patterns are to take on 2 consecutive days, then make 2 consecutive days of break. (2 days 500 i.E., 2 days nothing). Measure the hematocrit value after 4 days and record the progress. Caution: It is not permissible to conclude a linear course. It may be that the hematocrit level increases by 2.5% in the first 4 days, but then by only 1% in the subsequent 4 days.
If no increase in the hematocrit is observed, the dosage is slowly increased.

It is extremely important that the hematocrit value is measured continuously. An EPO course should yield hematocrit values after 6 weeks at the latest.

The dosage information given here is not intended as a dosage recommendation or medical advice. These are statements by bodybuilders who have used or used these active ingredients. The dosages should never be regarded as generally valid. If you are using the idea of using steroids or similar, ask a doctor or pharmacist.

Black market price / availability:

Erythropoietin is well available on the black market and costs about 50 € per 1000 i.E.


Erythropoietin, epoetin, EPO, hematopoietin (historical)

Trade Name / Manufacturer:

Erypo / Janssen Cilag (Ortho Biotech)
Epoxitin, globes (Italy)
Epopen / Esteve Laboratorios Pensa
Epoglobin / Jelfa Pharmaceuticals
Epox / Genexo
Procrit (USA), Eprex (other states) / Johnson & Johnson
Eritrogen / Laboratories Bagó, Bolivia

Chemical / Biological information:

Mature human erythropoietin is a glycoprotein with a molecular weight of 34-38 kDa. The mature protein consists of 166 amino acids (AS) and the proportion of glycosyl residues on the molecular weight is about 40%.