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.
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in Australia and remains one of the most underdiagnosed conditions in general practice.1 It is estimated that about 8% of the premenopausal adult female population has biochemical iron deficiency, with less than one-quarter being anaemic.1 The consequences of this condition can be subtle and the cause is often multifactorial.
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