Intravenous iron dextran therapy in patients with iron deficiency and normal renal function who failed to respond to or did not tolerate oral iron supplementation

Am J Med. 2000 Jul;109(1):27-32. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9343(00)00396-x.


Purpose: To evaluate the safety and effectiveness of using 500-mg doses of iron as intravenous iron dextran after premedication with diphenhydramine, cimetidine, and dexamethasone.

Subjects and methods: We treated 135 iron-deficient adults (26 men, 109 women) with normal renal function (serum creatinine level </=1.5 mg/dL or blood urea nitrogen level </=26 mg/dL) who could not be treated adequately with oral iron supplements due to gastrointestinal symptoms (59%), inadequate hematologic response (39%), severe anemia (19%), or noncompliance (4%). Some patients had more than one reason for treatment. Resolution of iron deficiency was defined as the restoration of transferrin saturation, serum ferritin level, anemia, and abnormal erythrocyte indexes to normal or baseline values.

Results: Before treatment with iron dextran, patients had a mean (+/- SD) transferrin saturation of 8% +/- 5%, a median serum ferritin level of 11 ng/mL, and a mean hemoglobin level of 10 +/- 2 g/dL. Ninety-two percent were anemic; 60% had unrecognized or untreated causes of anemia other than iron deficiency. We administered 285 iron dextran infusions (median 2, mean 2 infusions per patient; range 1 to 7). Eighty-seven percent of patients had no adverse reaction; 13% had mild reactions, especially arthralgias and myalgias. No patient had an anaphylaxis-like reaction. Fifty-four (40%) patients had resolution of iron deficiency, 34 (25%) continue to receive therapy, 36 (27%) returned to the care of their primary physician, and 11 (8%) died before iron repletion could be achieved.

Conclusions: Iron-deficient adults with normal renal function who cannot be treated adequately with oral iron supplements can be treated effectively and safely with this intravenous iron dextran regimen.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / blood
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / diet therapy
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Iron, Dietary / therapeutic use*
  • Iron-Dextran Complex / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Male
  • Transferrin / metabolism
  • Treatment Failure


  • Hemoglobins
  • Iron, Dietary
  • Transferrin
  • Iron-Dextran Complex
  • Ferritins