Effect of an intravenous iron dextran regimen on iron stores, hemoglobin, and erythropoietin requirements in hemodialysis patients

Am J Kidney Dis. 1998 May;31(5):835-40. doi: 10.1016/s0272-6386(98)70053-8.


Iron deficiency is a common cause of delayed or diminished response to erythropoietin (EPO) in hemodialysis patients. Although oral iron is often prescribed to replete iron stores, this approach to iron supplementation may not be adequate with chronic EPO therapy. Intravenous (IV) iron dextran may be an effective alternative approach to replete iron stores and may facilitate more cost-effective use of EPO. The purpose of this study was to evaluate an IV iron dextran regimen that consisted of a loading dose phase followed by monthly maintenance doses of iron dextran. The effect of this regimen on iron stores, hemoglobin, and EPO doses was evaluated. This was an open prospective study in adult hemodialysis patients who were iron deficient as defined by a serum ferritin less than 100 ng/mL or transferrin saturation (TSAT) of less than 20%. Patients were loaded with 1 g iron dextran in five divided doses and then received monthly maintenance doses of 100 mg for the 4-month study period. Values of serum ferritin, TSAT, hemoglobin, and EPO dose were followed for the 4-month study period. Thirty hemodialysis patients receiving EPO were identified as being iron deficient and were enrolled in the study. The mean serum ferritin increased significantly from 49 ng/mL at baseline to 225 ng/mL at the end of the study period (P < 0.0001). Mean TSAT also increased significantly from 27% to 33% (P = 0.002). Values for hemoglobin did not change significantly during the study period; however, there was a significant reduction in EPO dose from a mean baseline dose of 112 U/kg/wk to 88 U/kg/wk at the end of the study period (P = 0.009). Seventeen patients experienced an increase in hemoglobin or a decrease in EPO dose. Economic analysis showed that approximately $580 (Cdn) per patient per year could be saved by use of IV iron dextran. The administration of the IV iron dextran regimen in the iron-deficient hemodialysis population was effective at repleting and maintaining iron stores and reducing EPO use.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / blood
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / therapy
  • Erythropoietin / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Ferritins / analysis
  • Hematinics / administration & dosage*
  • Hemoglobins / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Iron-Dextran Complex / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Renal Dialysis* / adverse effects


  • Hematinics
  • Hemoglobins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin
  • Iron-Dextran Complex
  • Ferritins
  • Iron