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Cover of Oral Iron for Anemia: A Review of the Clinical Effectiveness, Cost-effectiveness and Guidelines

Oral Iron for Anemia: A Review of the Clinical Effectiveness, Cost-effectiveness and Guidelines

Rapid Response Report: Summary with Critical Appraisal

Oral iron salts such as ferrous fumarate, ferrous gluconate, and ferrous sulfate have been the mainstay of oral iron supplementation because they are inexpensive, effective at restoring iron balance, and have good overall safety and tolerability profile. However, in some patients, absorption of oral iron salts is inadequate, and poor tolerance results in reduced adherence to therapy. Polysaccharide iron complex and heme iron polypeptide products have become available as alternative therapies, offering improved absorption and tolerability profile over the traditional iron salts. However, they are significantly more expensive than iron salts. The aim of this review is to summarize current evidence on the comparative clinical and cost effectiveness of oral and injectable iron supplementation products for iron deficiency anemia (IDA).

Disclaimer: The Rapid Response Service is an information service for those involved in planning and providing health care in Canada. Rapid responses are based on a limited literature search and are not comprehensive, systematic reviews. The intent is to provide a list of sources of the best evidence on the topic that CADTH could identify using all reasonable efforts within the time allowed. Rapid responses should be considered along with other types of information and health care considerations. The information included in this response is not intended to replace professional medical advice, nor should it be construed as a recommendation for or against the use of a particular health technology. Readers are also cautioned that a lack of good quality evidence does not necessarily mean a lack of effectiveness particularly in the case of new and emerging health technologies, for which little information can be found, but which may in future prove to be effective. While CADTH has taken care in the preparation of the report to ensure that its contents are accurate, complete and up to date, CADTH does not make any guarantee to that effect. CADTH is not liable for any loss or damages resulting from use of the information in the report.

Copyright © 2016 Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.

Copyright: This report contains CADTH copyright material and may contain material in which a third party owns copyright. This report may be used for the purposes of research or private study only. It may not be copied, posted on a web site, redistributed by email or stored on an electronic system without the prior written permission of CADTH or applicable copyright owner.

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Except where otherwise noted, this work is distributed under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND), a copy of which is available at

Bookshelf ID: NBK343969PMID: 26889525


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