Background: The objectives of the present trial were to compare the efficacy and safety of two i.v. iron preparations with respect to haemoglobin levels, iron status and recombinant human erythropoetin (rHuEpo) dosage requirements in stable, rHuEpo-treated haemodialysis patients (maintenance phase of iron treatment) over 6 months.
Methods: A total of 59 patients were randomized and assigned to one of two treatment groups and 55 patients were analysed (iron sucrose n=27; iron gluconate n=28). Iron sucrose was administered in a dose of 250 mg iron diluted in 100 ml normal saline given over 60 min once per month, while 62.5 mg iron as iron gluconate was given once per week in a slow push injection (5 min).
Results: --Efficacy parameters: Haemoglobin levels could be maintained from baseline to endpoint in both groups. There were, however, more patients in the iron sucrose group than in the iron gluconate group for whom treatment was discontinued because their haemoglobin values exceeded 12.5 g/dl or ferritin values exceeded 1000 ng/ml (five vs two and three vs one patient, respectively). Transferrin saturation and serum ferritin increased significantly in both groups (+255.7 ng/ml with iron sucrose and +278.5 ng/ml with iron gluconate), while rHuEpo dosage did not change significantly throughout the study. --Safety parameters: There were a total of 174 infusions of iron sucrose and 720 injections of iron gluconate during the trial; all of them were well tolerated. In particular, we did not observe anaphylactoid reactions or any events suggestive of iron toxicity such as hypotension, dizziness, or nausea.
Conclusions: High doses of iron sucrose (Venofer((R)) at a dose of 250 mg/month) was equally effective in maintaining haemoglobin and equally well tolerated as low doses of iron gluconate (Ferrlecit((R)) at a dose of 62.5 mg once per week) in stable, rHuEpo treated haemodialysis patients.