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News

Intravenous iron is superior to oral intake after upper GI bleeds

This month's publication of Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics compares oral with intravenous iron after upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage.

News image

Nonvariceal acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding (AUGIB) is often accompanied by post-discharge anemia.

Drs Bager and Dahlerup from Denmark investigated whether iron treatment can effectively treat anemia and to compare a 3-month regimen of oral iron treatment with a single administration of intravenous iron prior to discharge.

The research team enrolled 97 patients with nonvariceal AUGIB and anemia in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study.

The patients were allocated to one of 3 groups, receiving a single intravenous administration of 1000 mg of iron, oral iron treatment 200 mg daily for 3 months or placebo, respectively.

The patients were followed up for 3 months.

Patients receiving treatment had higher hemoglobin levels
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics

From week 4 onwards, the team observed patients receiving treatment had significantly higher hemoglobin levels compared with patients who received placebo only.

At the end of treatment, the proportion of patients with anemia was significantly higher in the placebo group than in the treatment groups.

The team observed that intravenous iron appeared to be more effective than oral iron in ensuring sufficient iron stores.

Dr Bager and colleague commented, "Iron treatment is effective and essential for treating anemia after nonvariceal acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding."

"The route of iron supplementation is less important in terms of the increase in hemoglobin levels."

"Iron stores are filled most effectively if intravenous iron supplementation is administered."

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2014: 39(2): 176187
15 January 2014

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