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Ann Hematol. 2002 Mar;81(3):154-7. Epub 2002 Feb 9.

Parenteral iron supplementation for the treatment of iron deficiency anemia in children.

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Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, II Pediatric Clinic, University of Bari, Piazza Giulio Cesare, 70124 Bari, Italy.


Iron-deficiency anemia impairs growth and intellectual development in children, which can be reversed only by early diagnosis and iron supplementation. Oral supplementation can efficiently replace stores, but in many cases parenteral iron is needed. Unfortunately some adverse reactions have limited its use in children. We compared the efficacy and safety of intramuscular and intravenous administration in 33 evaluable children with severe iron deficiency and/or iron-deficiency anemia who failed to respond to oral iron supplementation. Nineteen children received intravenous infusion and 14 intramuscular injections. All children showed recovery from iron-deficiency anemia, with statistically similar improvement in hemoglobin levels. The duration of treatment was longer in those receiving intramuscular injection. Parenteral iron therapy for the treatment of iron-deficiency anemia is a rapid, easy, and definitive solution to a long-troubling situation. We suggest the use of parenteral iron, in particular intravenous iron, in children who do not recover from severe iron-deficiency anemia after oral therapy. We should consider the physical and neuropsychological sequelae of long-lasting iron deficiency in children and the fact that oral supplementation is less likely to replace iron stores.

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