Safety of Intravenous Iron in Hemodialysis: Longer-term Comparisons of Iron Sucrose Versus Sodium Ferric Gluconate Complex.
BACKGROUND: Controversy exists about any differences in longer-term safety across different intravenous iron formulations routinely used in hemodialysis (HD) patients. We exploited a natural experiment to compare outcomes of patients initiating HD therapy in facilities that predominantly (in ≥90% of their patients) used iron sucrose versus sodium ferric gluconate complex. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study of incident HD patients. SETTING & PARTICIPANTS: Using the US Renal Data System, we hard-matched on geographic region and center characteristics HD facilities predominantly using ferric gluconate with similar ones using iron sucrose. Subsequently, incident HD patients were assigned to their facility iron formulation exposure. INTERVENTION: Facility-level use of iron sucrose versus ferric gluconate. OUTCOMES: Patients were followed up for mortality from any, cardiovascular, or infectious causes. Medicare-insured patients were followed up for infectious and cardiovascular (stroke or myocardial infarction) hospitalizations and for composite outcomes with the corresponding cause-specific deaths. MEASUREMENTS: HRs. RESULTS: We matched 2,015 iron sucrose facilities with 2,015 ferric gluconate facilities, in which 51,603 patients (iron sucrose, 24,911; ferric gluconate, 26,692) subsequently initiated HD therapy. All recorded patient characteristics were balanced between groups. Over 49,989 person-years, 10,381 deaths (3,908 cardiovascular and 1,209 infectious) occurred. Adjusted all-cause (HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.93-1.03), cardiovascular (HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.89-1.03), and infectious mortality (HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.86-1.13) did not differ between iron sucrose and ferric gluconate facilities. Among Medicare beneficiaries, no differences between ferric gluconate and iron sucrose facilities were observed in fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular events (HR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.93-1.09). The composite infectious end point occurred less frequently in iron sucrose versus ferric gluconate facilities (HR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.88-0.96). LIMITATIONS: Unobserved selection bias from nonrandom treatment assignment. CONCLUSIONS: Patients initiating HD therapy in facilities almost exclusively using iron sucrose versus ferric gluconate had similar longer-term outcomes. However, there was a small decrease in infectious hospitalizations and deaths in patients dialyzing in facilities predominantly using iron sucrose. This difference may be due to residual confounding, random chance, or a causal effect.
Winkelmayer, WC; Goldstein, BA; Mitani, AA; Ding, VY; Airy, M; Mandayam, S; Chang, TI; Brookhart, MA; Fishbane, S
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