Introduction: Iron deficiency is a common cause of anaemia in non-dialysis chronic kidney disease (ND-CKD). Controversies exist about the optimal route of administration for iron therapy. Liposomal iron, a new generation oral iron with high gastrointestinal absorption and bioavailability and a low incidence of side effects, seems to be a promising new strategy of iron replacement. Therefore, we conducted a study to determine whether liposomal iron, compared with intravenous (IV) iron, improves anaemia in ND-CKD patients.
Methods: In this randomized, open-label trial, 99 patients with CKD (stage 3-5, not on dialysis) and iron deficiency anaemia [haemoglobin (Hb) ≤12 g/dL, ferritin ≤100 ng/mL, transferrin saturation ≤25%] were assigned (2:1) to receive oral liposomal iron (30 mg/day, Group OS) or a total dose of 1000 mg of IV iron gluconate (125 mg infused weekly) (Group IV) for 3 months. The patients were followed-up for the treatment period and 1 month after drug withdrawal. The primary end point was to evaluate the effects of the two treatments on Hb levels; the iron status, compliance and adverse effects were also evaluated.
Results: The short-term therapy with IV iron produced a more rapid Hb increase compared with liposomal iron, although the final increase in Hb was similar with either treatment; the difference between the groups was statistically significant at the first month and such difference disappeared at the end of treatment. After iron withdrawal, Hb concentrations remained stable in Group IV, while recovered to baseline in the OS group. The replenishment of iron stores was greater in the IV group. The incidence of adverse event was significantly lower in the oral group (P < 0.001), and the adherence was similar in the two groups.
Conclusions: Our study shows that oral liposomal iron is a safe and efficacious alternative to IV iron gluconate to correct anaemia in ND-CKD patients, although its effects on repletion of iron stores and on stability of Hb after drug discontinuation are lower.
Keywords: anaemia; erythropoiesis; inflammation; iron-deficiency.
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