Effect of weekly or successive iron supplementation on erythropoietin doses in patients receiving hemodialysis

Nephron. 2001 Sep;89(1):110-2. doi: 10.1159/000046053.


Aims: To conduct a 3-month prospective study to determine the optimal way for intravenous iron supplementation in hemodialysis (HD) patients with resistance to recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) therapy due to deficient iron storage.

Methods: Thirty-five HD patients with iron deficiency were divided into three groups: (1) patients receiving an intravenous infusion of 40 mg of iron during the first ten HD sessions (n = 12); (2) patients receiving 40 mg of iron injected once a week for 10 weeks (n = 12), and (3) patients without any iron supplementation (n = 11). The rHuEPO dosage was adjusted to maintain hemoglobin levels >10.0 g/dl, and the degree of anemia was assessed 3 months later.

Results: In group 1, the hemoglobin levels were significantly increased after 4 weeks and remained increased until the end of the study (p < 0.01). In group 2, the hemoglobin levels were gradually increased until the end of the study (p < 0.01). There was no difference in the final hemoglobin values between both groups. The rHuEPO dosage was significantly decreased from 131 +/- 18 to 90 +/- 17 U/kg/week in group 1 (p < 0.01), but could not be changed in group 2 during the observation period despite a similar elevation of the serum ferritin level. In group 3, the rHuEPO doses were rather increased at the end of the study (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Aggressive iron supplementation for the short term may be effective to restore rHuEPO hyporesponsiveness in HD patients with functional iron deficiency.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Erythropoietin / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins
  • Humans
  • Iron / administration & dosage*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Dialysis*


  • Hemoglobins
  • Erythropoietin
  • Iron