Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 39, Issue 11, November 2010

Intravenous iron replacement Management in general practice

Mark Naim Jennifer Hunter
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Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in Australia, and remains one of the most underdiagnosed conditions in general practice. The consequences of this condition can be subtle and the cause is often multifactorial.
The aim of this article is to review the safety of parenteral iron replacement therapy, and specifically intravenous infusion, in the general practice setting. The results of a recent clinical evaluation of 43 consecutive adult patients are reported.
Intravenous iron polymaltose infusions are commonly used in the hospital setting with low rates of reported adverse reactions (including low rates of anaphylaxis and anaphylactoid reactions). In a primary care setting, patients were given low dose intravenous iron polymaltose as a slow injection diluted with normal saline, following a diagnosis of iron deficiency or iron depletion, with or without anaemia. Injections were given at intervals no more frequently than weekly. Serum ferritin levels were monitored following treatment, and as routine follow up. A total of 89 injections of intravenous iron were used in 43 patients. No serious adverse reactions occurred. The administration of low dose parenteral iron polymaltose in the primary care setting is well tolerated and is potentially a cost effective alternative to specialist care and hospital admissions.

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