Oral iron supplementation during pregnancy fails to reduce the prevalence of anemia.
However, intramuscular doses of iron have been found to be effective.
In this study, investigators from India compared intramuscular doses of iron given at monthly intervals with daily oral iron supplementation in anemic pregnant women.
The team assessed 254 women. Of these, 148 received daily oral doses (100 mg elemental Fe plus 500 µg folic acid).The remaining 106 received 3 intramuscular doses at 1-month intervals (250 mg elemental Fe as iron dextran) plus oral doses of folic acid (5 mg) twice weekly.
Overall, 100 women in each group completed the study.
|Hemoglobin and iron indicators improved significantly in both groups..|
|American Journal of Clinical Nutrition|
The team evaluated changes in hemoglobin, iron indicators, pregnancy outcomes, and birth weight.
The team found that hemoglobin and iron indicators improved significantly in both groups.
However, increase in serum ferritin concentration after parenteral iron treatment was greater than that after oral iron treatment.
The team did not observe any significant differences between the 2 groups in either pregnancy outcomes and birth weight.
They determined that systemic side effects were more common in the parenteral iron group, while gastrointestinal side effects were more common in the oral iron group.
Dr Jai Sharma's team concluded, "The intramuscular administration of 3 doses of 250 mg Fe at monthly intervals appears to have good compliance and efficacy and may be used in women who cannot tolerate oral administration of iron".
"However, intramuscular administration of iron is appropriate only in hospital settings well equipped to treat anaphylactic crises".