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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Mar;11(3):269-77. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2012.10.013. Epub 2012 Oct 16.

Ferric carboxymaltose prevents recurrence of anemia in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

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Department of Medicine 3, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Christian Doppler Laboratory for Molecular Cancer Chemoprevention, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.



Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common systemic complication of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Iron-deficiency anemia recurs frequently and rapidly after iron-replacement therapy in patients with IBD. We performed a randomized, placebo-controlled trial to determine if administration of ferric carboxymaltose (FCM) prevents anemia in patients with IBD and low levels of serum ferritin.


We performed a single-blind, multicenter study of nonanemic patients who had completed the FERGIcor study. Serum levels of ferritin were assessed every second month, and patients were given FCM (total iron dose, 1181 ± 662 mg; n = 105) or placebo (n = 99) when levels decreased to less than 100 μg/L. The primary end point was time to recurrence of anemia within 8 months. Secondary end points included changes of quality of life, disease activity, results from laboratory tests, and adverse events.


Anemia recurred in 26.7% of subjects given FCM and in 39.4% given placebo. The time to anemia recurrence was longer in the FCM group (hazard ratio, 0.62; 95% confidence interval, 0.38-1.00; P = .049). Markers of body levels of iron increased or remained at normal levels in subjects given FCM (ferritin increased by 30.3 μg/L, transferrin saturation increased by 0.6%) but decreased in the group given placebo (ferritin decreased by 36.1 μg/L, transferrin saturation decreased by 4.0%). Changes in quality of life and disease activity were comparable between groups. Adverse events were reported in 59.0% of the FCM group and 50.5% of the placebo group, and serious adverse events were reported in 6.7% and 8.1%, respectively.


FCM prevents recurrence of anemia in patients with IBD, compared with placebo. Nevertheless, the high rate of anemia recurrence warrants optimization of the frequency and requirements for FCM treatment.


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