Randomised clinical trial: oral vs. intravenous iron after upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage--a placebo-controlled study

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Jan;39(2):176-87. doi: 10.1111/apt.12556. Epub 2013 Nov 19.


Background: Nonvariceal acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding (AUGIB) is often accompanied by post-discharge anaemia.

Aim: To investigate whether iron treatment can effectively treat anaemia and to compare a 3-month regimen of oral iron treatment with a single administration of intravenous iron prior to discharge.

Methods: Ninety-seven patients with nonvariceal AUGIB and anaemia were enrolled in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised study. The patients were allocated to one of three groups, receiving a single intravenous administration of 1000 mg of iron; oral iron treatment, 200 mg daily for 3 months; or placebo, respectively. The patients were followed up for 3 months.

Results: From week 4 onwards, patients receiving treatment had significantly higher haemoglobin levels compared with patients who received placebo only. At the end of treatment, the proportion of patients with anaemia was significantly higher in the placebo group (P < 0.01) than in the treatment groups. Intravenous iron appeared to be more effective than oral iron in ensuring sufficient iron stores.

Conclusions: Iron treatment is effective and essential for treating anaemia after nonvariceal acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding. The route of iron supplementation is less important in terms of the increase in haemoglobin levels. Iron stores are filled most effectively if intravenous iron supplementation is administered (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00978575).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anemia / blood
  • Anemia / drug therapy*
  • Anemia / etiology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / complications*
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Iron / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult


  • Hemoglobins
  • Iron

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00978575