A new intravenous (i.v.) iron compound, sodium ferric gluconate complex in sucrose (Ferrlecit, R&D Laboratories, Inc, Marina Del Rey, CA), was administered over 8 consecutive dialysis days in equally divided doses to a total of either 0.5 or 1.0 g in a controlled, open, multicenter, randomized clinical study of anemic, iron-deficient hemodialysis patients receiving recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO). Effectiveness was assessed by increase in hemoglobin and hematocrit and changes of iron parameters. Results were compared with historically matched controls on oral iron. High-dose i.v. treatment with 1.0 g sodium ferric gluconate complex in sucrose resulted in significantly greater improvement in hemoglobin, hematocrit, iron saturation, and serum ferritin at all time points, as compared with low-dose i.v. (0.5 g) or oral iron treatment. Despite an initial improvement in mean serum ferritin and transferrin saturation, 500 mg i.v. therapy did not result in a significant improvement in hemoglobin at any time. Eighty-three of 88 patients completed treatment with sodium ferric gluconate complex in sucrose: 44 in the high-dose and 39 in the low-dose group. Two patients discontinued for personal reasons. The other three discontinued because of a rash, nausea and rash, and chest pain with pruritus, respectively. In comparison with 25 matched control patients, adverse events could not be linked to drug therapy, nor was there a dose effect. In conclusion, sodium ferric gluconate complex in sucrose is safe and effective in the management of iron-deficiency anemia in severely iron-deficient and anemic hemodialysis patients receiving rHuEPO. This study confirms the concepts regarding iron therapy expressed in the National Kidney Foundation Dialysis Outcomes Quality Initiative (NKF-DOQI) that hemodialysis patients with serum ferritin below 100 ng/mL or transferrin saturations below 18% need supplementation with parenteral iron in excess of 1.0 g to achieve optimal response in hemoglobin and hematocrit levels.