Iron dextran administered to patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) as a total dose infusion is associated with a higher rate of adverse events (AEs) than routine doses of iron sucrose or ferric gluconate, researchers reported at the National Kidney Foundation’s 2014 Spring Clinical Meetings in Las Vegas.

In a retrospective pilot study, Neville R. Dossabhoy, MD, of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and the VA Medical Center in Shreveport, and colleagues looked at the records of  CKD patients administered a total of 609 doses of intravenous iron at the VA Medical Center in Shreveport.

Iron sucrose and ferric gluconate were given in doses used routinely in clinical practice. Iron dextran was given as a total dose infusion of 1,000 mg over 4-6 hours.

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The researchers identified AEs in 8 of 261 administered doses (3.1%) of iron dextran, the most frequent being itching, chills, and back pain. They observed no AEs with the other two agents.

The higher rate of AEs with iron dextran given as a total dose infusion may be explained by the much higher dose used for this agent or by the relatively small sample size, the authors concluded in a poster presentation. All of the AEs were minor, however, and none were life-threatening, they noted.