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Hemodial Int. 2017 Jun;21 Suppl 1:S125-S131. doi: 10.1111/hdi.12562. Epub 2017 Apr 24.

Clinical practice guidelines on iron therapy: A critical evaluation.

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Department of Nephrology and Dialysis, Alessandro Manzoni Hospital, Lecco, Italy.


Anemia is common among patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and it is managed primarily with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESA) and iron therapy. Following concerns around ESA therapy and economic constraints, IV iron is more and more administered worldwide. Several guidelines or position papers, which give indications on iron therapy in CKD patients, have been issued in Nephrology. Unfortunately, the field is characterized by a lack of evidence. As a result, the recommendations/suggestions are not uniform. There is general consensus to prescribe iron therapy to patients who are clearly iron deficient. In addition, iron therapy may increase Hb values, delay the start of ESA therapy in ESA-naïve patients and reduce ESA dose in ESA-treated patients. However, there is debate on the safety and efficacy of IV iron therapy when given in the presence of already high serum ferritin levels. In addition, not all the guidelines/position papers differentiate between non-dialysis/dialysis patients and between the presence/absence of ESA therapy. Many international Bodies or Societies suggest caution when administering IV iron during infections. A trial of oral iron should be considered as a first step, especially in the ND-CKD population. Finally, recommendations on the prevention of anaphylactic reactions following IV iron therapy are given by several bodies. There is consensus that IV iron is to be administered in the presence of resuscitative facilities (including medications) and personnel trained for emergencies.


Iron; anaphylaxis; chronic kidney disease; erythropoiesis stimulating agents; guidelines

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