Iron Therapy

A survey in patients treated for chemotherapy-induced anaemia (CIA) indicates that management of anaemia and assessment of iron status varies substantially across Europe and that iron therapy is frequently under-utilised.

Patients with cancer frequently experience CIA and iron deficiency. This study evaluated routine practice in CIA management. Medical oncologists and haematologists from nine European countries (n=375) were surveyed on their last five cancer patients treated for CIA (n=1,730).

Study results have revealed that ferumoxytol may be a suitable treatment alternative to iron sucrose for patients with iron deficiency anaemia when oral iron is unsatisfactory or intolerable. The authors also suggest that ferumoxytol has the potential to increase treatment compliance in this patient population.

Patients scheduled for major elective orthopaedic procedures frequently present with preoperative iron deficiency and anaemia1,2. Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common form of anaemia and preoperative anaemia has been linked to higher postoperative infection rate, poorer physical functioning and recovery, decreased quality of life, and increased length of hospital stay (LOS) and mortality1–5.

A recent study by Munoz and colleagues demonstrated that transfusion rates in patients with hip fracture were lower in those who received intravenous iron compared with those who received no iron therapy (32.4 vs 48.8%, respectively; n=2547). Postoperative nosocomial infection rates were lower in patients who received intravenous iron, as was thirty-day mortality and length of hospital stay1.

Recent research has ascertained that, although iron deficiency is common in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it is not routinely tested for or treated. It has also been shown that treating these patients with erythropoietin stimulating agents (ESAs) or intravenous iron not only corrects the iron deficiency but also improves symptoms of dyspnoea.

Intravenous iron may improve erythroid recovery in patients treated with DA after haematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). Darbepoetin alfa (DA) helps to ensure full erythroid reconstitution after autologous HCT when started on day 28 post-transplant, a new study indicates.

A new study indicates that oral iron therapy results in failure to control iron deficiency anaemia in two out of three patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Researchers suggest alternative options should be considered in these patients and, in particular, administration of intravenous iron therapy.

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