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Clinical effectiveness of ferric carboxymaltose (iv) versus iron sucrose (iv) in treatment of iron deficiency anaemia in pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

BACKGROUND OBJECTIVES: Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) during pregnancy is treated with oral and parenteral iron. The objective of this review was to compare the clinical effectiveness, safety, pregnancy and neonatal outcomes of intravenous (iv) ferric carboxymaltose (FCM) and iv iron sucrose (IS) in treating IDA in pregnancy.

METHODS: The Department of Health Research funded this study. PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE and Scopus were searched to include studies published till November 2022. The protocol was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42022306092). Pregnant women (15-49 yr) in second and third trimesters, diagnosed with moderate-to-severe iron deficiency anaemia, treated with either of the drugs were included. The included studies were critically assessed using appropriate tools. We conducted a qualitative synthesis of the studies and meta-analysis for improvement in haematological parameters and incidence of adverse events.

RESULTS: A total of 18 studies were included. The risk of bias was low to moderate. A rise in haemoglobin up to four weeks was higher with FCM than IS by 0.57 (0.24, 0.9) g/dl. Intravenous FCM is associated with fewer adverse events than IS [pooled odds ratio: 0.5 (0.32, 0.79)]. The included studies had limited evidence on pregnancy and neonatal outcomes after iv iron treatment.

INTERPRETATION CONCLUSIONS: Intravenous FCM is effective and safer than intravenous IS in terms of haematological parameters, in treating IDA in pregnancy. Further research is required on the effects of iv FCM and iv IS on the pregnancy and neonatal outcomes when used for treating IDA in pregnancy.

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