Safety and efficacy of high-dose intravenous iron carboxymaltose vs. iron sucrose for treatment of postpartum anemia

Anita Pfenniger, Christine Schuller, Patricia Christoph, Daniel Surbek
Journal of Perinatal Medicine 2012 April 2, 40 (4): 397-402

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to compare the safety and efficacy of intravenous (IV) high-dose iron carboxymaltose (ICM) with iron sucrose (IS) for the treatment of postpartum anemia.

STUDY DESIGN: We performed a retrospective cohort study with 210 anemic inpatient women in the postpartum period who received IV high-dose ICM (15 mg/kg; maximum, 1000 mg) or IS (2×200 mg), respectively. Safety and tolerability of both groups were compared on the basis of reported systemic and local adverse events. The cohorts were matched for baseline characteristics and their initial hemoglobin (Hb) values. The secondary endpoint included drug efficacy assessment by measurement of Hb level increase up to 8 days after treatment.

RESULTS: Rapid administration of high ICM doses was as well tolerated as IS with overall adverse events of 5% (ICM) vs. 6% (IS). The most common complaint was burning and pain at the injection site. ICM was as effective as IS in changing Hb levels from the baseline. There was no difference in the mean daily Hb increase between the groups. Women with severe anemia showed the most effective responsiveness.

CONCLUSIONS: IV ICM is as safe as IS in the management of postpartum (IDA) iron deficiency anemia despite five times of higher dosage. Both drugs are effective and offer a rapid normalization of Hb after delivery. The single application of ICM shows advantages of lower incidence of side effects at the injection site, a shorter treatment period, and better patient compliance.

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