A randomized, controlled, open label non-inferiority trial of intravenous ferric carboxymaltose versus iron sucrose in patients with iron deficiency anemia in China

Front Med. 2024 Feb;18(1):98-108. doi: 10.1007/s11684-023-1001-2. Epub 2023 Oct 28.


Iron deficiency (ID) and ID anemia (IDA) pose significant public health concerns in China. Although iron sucrose (IS) treatment is well-established in the country, ferric carboxymaltose (FCM) offers the advantage of higher doses and fewer infusions. This open label, randomized, controlled, non-inferiority trial was conducted at multiple sites in China to compare the outcomes of FCM (maximum of 2 doses, 500 or 1000 mg iron) and IS (up to 11 infusions, 200 mg iron) treatments in subjects with IDA. The primary endpoint was the achievement of hemoglobin (Hb) response (an increase of ⩾2 g/dL from baseline) within 8 weeks, whereas secondary endpoints included changes in Hb, transferrin saturation, and serum ferritin levels. Among the 371 randomized subjects, a similar percentage of subjects treated with FCM and IS achieved Hb-response (FCM 99.4%, IS 98.3%), thereby confirming the non-inferiority of FCM compared with IS (difference 1.12 (-2.15, 4.71; 95% confidence interval (CI))). Furthermore, a significantly higher proportion of FCM-treated subjects achieved early Hb-response at Week 2 (FCM 85.2%, IS 73.2%; difference 12.1 (3.31, 20.65; 95% CI)). Additionally, the increase in TSAT and serum ferritin levels from baseline was significantly greater at all time points for FCM-treated subjects. The safety profiles of FCM and IS were comparable, with the exception of transient hypophosphatemia and pyrexia, which are consistent with FCM's known safety profile. In conclusion, FCM proves to be an efficacious treatment for IDA, providing faster Hb-response and correction of ID with fewer administrations than IS.

Keywords: Hb response; anemia; early response; ferric carboxymaltose; intravenous iron; iron deficiency; iron sucrose.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Equivalence Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency* / drug therapy
  • Ferric Compounds*
  • Ferric Oxide, Saccharated / therapeutic use
  • Ferritins / therapeutic use
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Hemoglobins / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Iron / therapeutic use
  • Maltose* / analogs & derivatives


  • ferric carboxymaltose
  • Ferric Compounds
  • Ferric Oxide, Saccharated
  • Ferritins
  • Hemoglobins
  • Iron
  • Maltose

Supplementary concepts

  • Chinese people