Blood Transfus. 2021 Nov;19(6):448-455. doi: 10.2450/2020.0167-20. Epub 2020 Nov 2.
BACKGROUND: Pharmacological treatment of iron deficiency anaemia can reduce red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. Intravenous iron provides a more effective and quicker correction of iron deficiency anaemia than oral iron, and third-generation high-dose intravenous iron formulations allow the complete correction of iron deficiency with just one or two drug infusions, thus facilitating iron supplementation therapy and reducing transfusion requirement.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: In an observational, retrospective study we compared RBC transfusion requirement during hospitalisation and within 3 months of hospital discharge in 88 patients with iron deficiency anaemia treated with high-dose ferric carboxymaltose and in 85 patients treated with ferric gluconate while hospitalised in the Internal Medicine unit of our Institution.
RESULTS: Ferric carboxymaltose reduced the number of RBC units given to each transfused patient during hospitalisation (1.81±0.84 vs 2.39±1.49, p=0.011). At hospital discharge, fewer ferric carboxymaltose patients were prescribed home therapy with iron. No differences between treatment groups were observed in the proportion of patients or the number of RBC units transfused within 3 months of discharge. At one month from discharge, however, only 2 ferric carboxymaltose patients had been transfused compared with 7 ferric gluconate patients (p=0.078). Patients transfused post-discharge were more likely to have an underlying malignancy and/or higher serum creatinine concentrations.
DISCUSSION: Treatment with ferric carboxymaltose reduced the number of RBC units per transfused patient. Larger studies are required to define risk factors associated with post-discharge transfusion requirement and to establish if home therapy with iron will reduce subsequent transfusions in patients treated with ferric carboxymaltose.