Treatment of iron deficiency anemia: are monomeric iron compounds suitable for parenteral administration?
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional problem worldwide, especially in the developing countries. Oral iron supplementation programs have failed because of noncompliance and gastrointestinal toxicity, thereby necessitating parenteral administration of iron. For parenteral administration, only iron-carbohydrate complexes are currently used, because monomeric iron salts release free iron, thereby causing oxidant injury. However, iron-carbohydrate complexes also have significant toxicity, and they are expensive. We have proposed the hypothesis that monomeric iron salts can be safely administered by the parenteral route if iron is tightly complexed to the ligand, thereby causing clinically insignificant release of free iron, and the kinetic properties of the compound allow rapid transfer of iron to plasma transferrin. A detailed analysis of the physicochemical and kinetic properties reveals that ferric iron complexed to pyrophosphate or acetohydroxamate anions may be suitable for parenteral administration. We have demonstrated that infusion of ferric pyrophosphate into the circulation via the dialysate is safe and effective in maintaining iron balance in patients undergoing maintenance hemodialysis. Parenteral administration of monomeric iron compounds is a promising approach to the treatment of iron deficiency in the general population and merits further investigation.
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