Safety and efficacy of intravenous iron therapy in reducing requirement for allogeneic blood transfusion: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials.
Authors: Litton E, Xiao J, Ho KM
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of intravenous iron, focusing primarily on its effects on haemoglobin, requirement for transfusion, and risk of infection.
DESIGN: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials investigating the safety and efficacy of intravenous iron therapy.
DATA SOURCES: Randomised controlled trials from Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from 1966 to June 2013, with no language restrictions.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR SELECTING STUDIES: Eligible trials were randomised controlled trials of intravenous iron compared with either no iron or oral iron. Crossover and observational studies were excluded.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Change in haemoglobin concentration and risk of allogeneic red blood cell transfusion (efficacy) and risk of infection (safety).
RESULTS: Of the 75 trials meeting the inclusion criteria, 72 studies including 10 605 patients provided quantitative outcome data for meta-analysis. Intravenous iron was associated with an increase in haemoglobin concentration (standardised mean difference 6.5 g/L, 95% confidence interval 5.1 g/L to 7.9 g/L) and a reduced risk of requirement for red blood cell transfusion (risk ratio 0.74, 95% confidence interval 0.62 to 0.88), especially when intravenous iron was used with erythroid stimulating agents (ESAs) or in patients with a lower baseline plasma ferritin concentration. There were no significant interactions between the efficacy of intravenous iron and type or dose administered. Intravenous iron was, however, associated with a significant increase in risk of infection (relative risk 1.33, 95% confidence interval 1.10 to 1.64) compared with oral or no iron supplementation. The results remained similar when only high quality trials were analysed.
CONCLUSIONS: Intravenous iron therapy is effective in increasing haemoglobin concentration and reducing the risk of allogeneic red blood cell transfusion and could have broad applicability to a range of acute care settings. This potential benefit is counterbalanced by a potential increased risk of infection.
PMID: 23950195 [PubMed - in process]