Ferric carboxymaltose vs. oral iron in the treatment of pregnant women with iron deficiency anemia: an international, open-label, randomized controlled trial (FER-ASAP)

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Abstract

Objective:

To compare the efficacy and safety of intravenous ferric carboxymaltose (FCM) with first-line oral ferrous sulfate (FS) in pregnant women with iron deficiency anemia (IDA).

Materials and methods:

Pregnant women (n=252; gestational weeks 16-33) with IDA were randomized 1:1 to FCM (1000-1500 mg iron) or FS (200 mg iron/day) for 12 weeks. The primary objective was to compare efficacy; secondary objectives included safety and quality of life.

Results:

Hemoglobin (Hb) levels improved at comparable rates across both treatments; however, significantly more women achieved anemia correction with FCM vs. FS [Hb ≥11.0 g/dL; 84% vs. 70%; odds ratio (OR): 2.06, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.07, 3.97; P=0.031] and within a shorter time frame (median 3.4 vs. 4.3 weeks). FCM treatment significantly improved vitality (P=0.025) and social functioning (P=0.049) prior to delivery. Treatment-related adverse events were experienced by 14 (FCM; 11%) and 19 (FS; 15%) women, with markedly higher rates of gastrointestinal disorders reported with FS (16 women) than with FCM (3 women). Newborn characteristics were similar across treatments.

Conclusions:

During late-stage pregnancy, FCM may be a more appropriate option than first-line oral iron for rapid and effective anemia correction, with additional benefits for vitality and social functioning.

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