A systematic review published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has concluded that intravenous iron therapy effectively increases hemoglobin concentrations and reduces the need for allogeneic red cell transfusions. The authors suggested that potential clinical benefits of intravenous iron outweighed potential risks. The review included 72 randomized controlled trials from 1966 to 2013, which involved more than 10,000 patients. The meta-analysis found that intravenous iron therapy was associated with an average hemoglobin increase of 6.5 g/L and a 26% reduction in the need for red cell transfusion. However, intravenous iron was also associated with a significantly increased risk of infection (relative risk = 1.33).
1. Litton E, Xiao J, Ho KM. Safety and efficacy of intravenous iron therapy in reducing requirement for allogeneic blood transfusion: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised clinical trials. BMJ 2013;347: f4822.