Although intravenous iron has proved to optimize the efficacy of EPOrHu in hemodialysis patients, hitherto no consensus exists with respect to the best regimen of intravenous iron administration. We started a prospective randomized study in 26 patients undergoing chronic hemodialysis who had adequate iron metabolism indices (serum ferritin >100 microg/l; %TSAT >20%; %HypoE <10% and CHr >26 pg) and were in the maintenance phase of EPOrHu administration (target hemoglobin obtained >10 g/dl). All patients were receiving sodium ferric gluconate (Ferrlecit) intermittently prior to the study and after a 1-month wash-out period where iron was not administered patients were randomized to receive the same previous dose of intravenous iron either in a continuous (6.25-21.3 mg in every hemodialysis session) or an intermittent regimen (62.5 mg every 1-4 weeks, not modifying the previous schedule of administration). At 16 weeks, the continuous group showed a significant increment in serum Hb (11.83 +/- 1.12 g/dl) with respect to baseline (10.96 +/- 1.31 g/dl) (p < 0.05), whereas no differences were obtained in intermittent group (baseline: 11.16 +/- 1.03 g/dl; 16 weeks: 11.14 +/- 0.90 g/dl, NS). In contrast with the intermittent group, serum ferritin increased significantly in the continuous group (16 weeks: 508 +/- 157 microg/l; baseline: 368 +/- 56 microg/l; p < 0.05), whereas %TSAT and CHr did not modified during the study in both groups. %HypoE increased significantly with respect to baseline values in the continuous group (p < 0.05) and close to significantly different in the intermittent group (p = 0.06). Our study suggests that hemodialysis patients in the maintenance phase of EPOrHu administration would obtain further benefit in terms of serum hemoglobin level with a continuous intravenous serum ferric gluconate regimen, at least in the short term.
Copyright 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel