Objective: To evaluate the toxicity of polysaccharide-iron complex (PIC) exposures reported to poison centers in the US.
Design: A retrospective analysis of potentially toxic exposures to PIC without concomitant substances reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) Toxic Exposure Surveillance System from 1990 to 1998 was performed.
Results: Of 810 potentially toxic exposures to PIC, 55.9% occurred in females, 43.8% in males; in 0.3%, gender was unknown. The majority of exposures (74.4%) involved children under six years of age. The reasons for exposure were: 86.7% unintentional, 11.6% intentional, and 1.6% adverse reaction. The most frequently reported clinical effects attributed to PIC were vomiting (n = 23), diarrhea (10), nausea (11), abdominal pain (10), and lethargy/drowsiness (7). While the majority of exposures were managed outside a healthcare facility, management site varied depending on age (management in non-healthcare facility in 71.8% of exposures in children under six years of age vs. 44.9% in adolescents and adults). The majority of outcomes (95.6%) were no effect, minor effect, unrelated effect, not followed since nontoxic, or not followed since only minimal toxicity possible. Of two cases coded as moderate effect, it could not be determined whether the symptoms were related to PIC in one, and in the second case inspection of the poison center record revealed that the actual outcome was minor effect. There were no major effects or deaths.
Conclusions: There were no serious adverse events following PIC exposure reported to the AAPCC. Although more data are needed, these findings suggest reduced toxicity for PIC relative to other forms of iron.