Parenteral Iron Therapy: A Single Institution's Experience Over a 5-Year Period

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  • * From the Department of Pharmacy Services, Huntsman Cancer Institute; Divisions of Hematology and Oncology, Huntsman Cancer Institute; Department of Pathology, University of Utah Heath Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Many patients require parenteral iron therapy for optimal correction of anemia, including cancer patients who require erythropoietic drugs. Available parenteral iron therapy options include iron dextran, iron gluconate, and iron sucrose. The purpose of this study is to summarize our institution's experience with parenteral iron therapy over a 5-year period, with a focus on comparative safety profiles. All patients receiving parenteral iron therapy over this period were included in the analysis. Chi-squared test and Fisher's exact test were used to compare the adverse event rates of each product. A total of 121 patients received 444 infusions of parenteral iron over this period. Iron dextran was the most commonly used product (85 patients) and iron sucrose was the least used (2 patients). Iron gluconate was used by 34 patients. Overall adverse event rates per patient with iron dextran and iron gluconate were 16.5% and 5.8%, respectively (P = .024). Premedication with diphenhydramine and acetaminophen before infusions of iron dextran reduced adverse event rates per infusion from 12.3% to 4.4% (P = .054). Test doses of iron dextran were used 88% of the time for initial infusions of iron dextran. All adverse events for all parenteral iron products were mild or moderate. There were no serious adverse events and no anaphylaxis was observed. Our results suggest that, if test doses and premedications are used, iron dextran is an acceptable product to treat iron deficiency.

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Correspondence: George M. Rodgers, MD, PhD, Division of Hematology, 30 North 1900 East, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, UT 84132. E-mail:
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