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Nutrition. 1995 Mar-Apr;11(2):163-8.

Parenteral iron dextran therapy: a review.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, New England Deaconess Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Iron dextran was introduced more than 30 yr ago for the parenteral treatment of iron deficiency anemia that is refractory to oral therapy. Iron dextran is a preparation of ferric hydroxide complexed with a low molecular weight fraction of dextran. Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common nutritional deficiency diseases and occurs worldwide secondary to inadequate dietary iron, usually with excessive gastrointestinal blood losses. Repletion of iron stores is often complicated by intolerance to oral iron supplementation and may require parenteral iron. Parenteral iron can be administered via the intramuscular or intravenous route either directly or as an additive to total parenteral nutrition. Both routes of administration can cause various side effects and a test dose is recommended before therapeutic administration to assess the risk for anaphylaxis. Although the efficacy and safety of parenteral iron dextran have been convincingly demonstrated, supplementation may be contraindicated in the setting of infection.

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