State of the iron: How to diagnose and efficiently treat iron deficiency anemia in inflammatory bowel disease

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Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) frequently occurs in patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and negatively impacts their quality of life. Nevertheless, the condition appears to be both under-diagnosed and undertreated. Regular biochemical screening of patients with IBD for anemia by the gastroenterology community has to be advocated.

Oral iron is a low cost treatment however its effectiveness is limited by low bioavailability and poor tolerability. Intravenous (IV) iron rapidly replenishes iron stores and has demonstrated its safe use in a number of studies in various therapeutic areas. A broad spectrum of new IV iron formulations is now becoming available offering improved tolerability and patient convenience by rapidly restoring the depleted iron status of patients with IBD. The following article aims to review the magnitude of the problem of IDA in IBD, suggest screening standards and highlight existing and future therapies.

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