Iron therapy for managing anaemia in chronic kidney disease

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Iron deficiency is a major contributory cause to the development of anaemia in chronic kidney disease (CKD), and thus, iron replacement therapy plays a critical role in the management of this condition. The two main routes for administering iron are oral and intravenous, and there have been a number of new publications relevant to both routes of administration.

Recent findings

Recent developments on the topic of iron management in CKD include the introduction of new oral iron preparations, as well as two recent meta-analyses on iron therapy in CKD (one on oral versus intravenous iron, and one on high- versus low-dose intravenous iron in haemodialysis patients). There is also increasing interest in other strategies to improve iron availability, such as intradialytic iron, hypoxia-inducible factor stabilization and antihepcidin strategies.

Summary

Even despite the latest publications in this field, we are still left with serious gaps in our evidence base on how best to provide supplemental iron to CKD patients. Most of the evidence suggests that intravenous iron is superior to oral iron in increasing haemoglobin and minimizing the use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, but the safety of intravenous iron remains a controversy. The PIVOTAL study will hopefully provide informative data to fill some of the gap in the evidence-base and inform best clinical practice.

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