Anaemia is a common problem experienced by critically-ill people. Treatment with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) has been used as a pharmacologic strategy when the blunted response of endogenous erythropoietin has been reported in critically-ill people. The use of ESAs becomes more important where adverse clinical outcomes of transfusing blood products is a limitation. However, this indication for ESAs is not licensed by regulatory authorities and is called off-label use. Recent studies concern the harm of ESAs in a critical care setting.