Human iron therapy

Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron is an essential substance in the human body, transporting oxygen to tissues via hemoglobin in red blood cells and functioning as a co-factor in a number of enzyme systems. Iron deficiency is caused by a deficit in total body iron, resulting from iron requirements that exceed the iron supply. If the iron deficiency is not corrected it will ultimately lead to iron deficiency anemia with a significant impact on life, morbidity and mortality.1,2

The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 2 billion people - more than 30% of the world's population - are anemic, mainly due to iron deficiency.3

Parenteral Iron Repletion Therapy

Therapy for iron deficiency anemia includes treatment of its underlying cause and restoration of normal hemoglobin concentrations and iron stores. This can be accomplished by oral or parenteral administration. Although the oral route is preferred, clinical situations exist where the parenteral route is indicated:

  • Intolerance or non-compliance to oral iron preparations.
  • Lack of effect of oral iron therapy.
  • Malabsorption of oral iron, e.g. due to gastrointestinal disease or surgery.
  • Patients in whom the chronic iron loss exceeds the rate of replacement possible with oral iron.
  • Patients with a clinical need for rapid delivery of iron to iron stores, e.g. post operative and post partum patients or in cases of autologous blood donation.
  • Functional or absolute iron deficiency in connection to erythropoietin therapy (r-HuEPO).

Intravenous Iron Infusion Therapy

The introduction of r-HuEPO not only changed the treatment of anemia - it also highlighted the need for parenteral iron supplementation. From being primarily indicated and used in renal anemia the use of erythropoietin has now spread to new indications, e.g. autologous blood transfusion, gastroenterology and anemia in cancer. In many of these patients gastrointestinal iron absorption is not sufficient and therefore parenteral iron administration has to be considered.

Learn more about our treatments for iron deficiency anaemia, Monofer® (iron isomaltoside 1000) and Cosmofer® (low Mw iron dextran).

References

1) Nissenson AR. Arch Intern Med 2003. Vol. 163, June 23. pp. 1400-1404. 2) Silverberg D.S. Journal of Nephrology 2004; Vol. 17 (6): 749-761. 3) WHO 2004, http://www.who.int/nut/ida.htm.