Intravenous iron in inflammatory bowel disease

World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Oct 7;15(37):4666-74. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.4666.


The prevalence of anemia across studies on patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is high (30%). Both iron deficiency (ID) and anemia of chronic disease contribute most to the development of anemia in IBD. The prevalence of ID is even higher (45%). Anemia and ID negatively impact the patient's quality of life. Therefore, together with an adequate control of disease activity, iron replacement therapy should start as soon as anemia or ID is detected to attain a normal hemoglobin (Hb) and iron status. Many patients will respond to oral iron, but compliance may be poor, whereas intravenous (i.v.) compounds are safe, provide a faster Hb increase and iron store repletion, and presents a lower rate of treatment discontinuation. Absolute indications for i.v. iron treatment should include severe anemia, intolerance or inappropriate response to oral iron, severe intestinal disease activity, or use of an erythropoietic stimulating agent. Four different products are principally used in clinical practice, which differ in their pharmacokinetic properties and safety profiles: iron gluconate and iron sucrose (lower single doses), and iron dextran and ferric carboxymaltose (higher single doses). After the initial resolution of anemia and the repletion of iron stores, the patient's hematological and iron parameters should be carefully and periodically monitored, and maintenance iron treatment should be provided as required. New i.v. preparations that allow for giving 1000-1500 mg in a single session, thus facilitating patient management, provide an excellent tool to prevent or treat anemia and ID in this patient population, which in turn avoids allogeneic blood transfusion and improves their quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ferric Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Ferric Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Ferric Oxide, Saccharated
  • Glucaric Acid
  • Gluconates / administration & dosage
  • Gluconates / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Iron / administration & dosage*
  • Iron / adverse effects
  • Iron / therapeutic use
  • Iron-Dextran Complex / administration & dosage
  • Iron-Dextran Complex / therapeutic use
  • Maltose / administration & dosage
  • Maltose / analogs & derivatives
  • Maltose / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Ferric Compounds
  • Gluconates
  • ferric carboxymaltose
  • Maltose
  • Iron-Dextran Complex
  • Iron
  • Ferric Oxide, Saccharated
  • Glucaric Acid