Iron Therapy Challenges for the Treatment of Nondialysis CKD Patients

Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2016 Jul 7;11(7):1269-80. doi: 10.2215/CJN.00080116. Epub 2016 May 16.


The clinical consequences of untreated, severe anemia in patients with nondialysis CKD can be significant, but disparities exist in the anemia treatment guidelines and position papers issued from working groups and associations across the world. These differ in hemoglobin target and iron levels and their emphasis on various iron markers and other clinical outcomes. Not surprisingly, disparities are observed in anemia treatment strategies among patients with nondialysis CKD across different areas of the world. Over the past decade, the prescription and dosage of both iron therapies and erythropoiesis-stimulating agents have shifted, with notable regional differences observed. Moreover, there is ongoing debate regarding oral versus intravenous administration of iron. Compared with oral iron therapy, which often leads to gastrointestinal adverse events, low patient adherence, and low efficacy, intravenous iron administration has been associated with potential serious adverse events, such as anaphylaxis. New iron-based compounds and drugs currently under development are reviewed to describe their potential benefits in the treatment of anemia in patients with CKD. New oral compounds, including iron-based phosphate binders, heme iron polypeptide, and liposomal iron, show different rates of absorption with possibly different efficacy and improved tolerability. These new potential therapies offer health care providers additional anemia treatment options for their patients with CKD; however, the management of anemia in the CKD population continues to present challenges that require prospective studies to identify the optimal iron therapy for patients.

Keywords: Chronic; Erythropoiesis; Ferric Compounds; Humans; Iron; Patient Compliance; Prospective Studies; Renal Insufficiency; anemia; chronic kidney disease; intravenous.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Administration, Oral
  • Anemia / blood
  • Anemia / drug therapy*
  • Anemia / etiology
  • Ferric Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Hematinics / therapeutic use*
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iron / administration & dosage*
  • Iron / adverse effects
  • Iron Compounds
  • Liposomes
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / complications*


  • Ferric Compounds
  • Hematinics
  • Hemoglobins
  • Iron Compounds
  • Liposomes
  • ferric citrate
  • Iron