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J Trop Pediatr. 2003 Apr;49(2):84-8. doi: 10.1093/tropej/49.2.84.

The effect of iron therapy on the growth of iron-replete and iron-deplete children.

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Department of Pediatrics and Laboratory Medicine, Safdarjang Hospital and Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College, New Delhi, India.


This prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was designed to study the effect of iron therapy on the growth of iron-replete and iron-deficient children, and to study the change in iron status in iron-deficient children with iron therapy. One hundred and fifty children (aged 6-24 months) were included in the study. After an informed written consent, 100 healthy children, who were iron replete (group I) according to preset criteria, were randomly allocated to receive iron supplements 2 ng/kg/day (group IA) or placebo (group IB). Fifty iron-deficient children (group II) were administered iron syrup 6 mg/kg/day. Growth parameters (weight, length and head-circumference) and hematological parameters were studied for 4 months. Iron therapy, as compared with placebo, produced a significant improvement of mean monthly weight gain (p < 0.001) and linear growth (p < 0.001) in the iron-deficient children. However, it significantly decreased the weight gain (p < 0.001) and linear growth (p < 0.001) of iron-replete children. Caution should therefore be exercised while supplementing iron to children with apparently normal growth and when the iron status of the child is not known.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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