New Study Compares Iron Treatments for Anaemia in Pregnancy: Which Works Best?

12 May 2023 • A recent study conducted in Malawi has compared the effectiveness of oral and intravenous iron treatments for pregnant women with anaemia. Anaemia, often caused by iron deficiency, affects nearly half of all pregnancies worldwide, leading to maternal complications and adverse fetal outcomes. While oral iron is the commonly used therapy due to its affordability, it can cause gastrointestinal side effects that hinder treatment adherence.

The study, which included 862 pregnant women with moderate to severe anaemia, found no significant difference in anaemia prevalence at 36 weeks' gestation between those receiving intravenous iron (ferrous carboxymaltose) and those receiving oral iron (ferrous sulphate). Birthweight also remained unchanged. However, women who received intravenous iron had a lower risk of iron deficiency anaemia at delivery. The study highlights the need for further research on the optimal iron treatment regimens, including dose, preparation, and timing, as well as long-term infant outcomes.

These findings provide important insights into the relative safety of intravenous iron treatment during the second trimester, particularly in areas with high infection rates. Improving diagnostic tools for iron deficiency and assessing long-term outcomes are crucial. Future high-quality studies are urgently required to guide effective and cost-efficient strategies for managing iron deficiency anaemia in pregnant women.

Source: The Lancet | Read full story

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