Evaluation of the safety of iron dextran with parenteral nutrition in the paediatric inpatient setting

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Practitioners often avoid administering iron dextran in parenteral nutrition (PN) for hospitalised children because of the concern for anaphylaxis. The primary aim of the present study was to determine the risk of anaphylaxis associated with exposure to PN containing iron dextran in the inpatient setting.


Charts were reviewed for all children admitted to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia from January 1, 2011 to December 30, 2013 who received PN containing low molecular weight (LMW) iron dextran. Subject characteristics, primary diagnoses and PN orders were evaluated. The pharmacy adverse events database was queried for adverse drug reactions.


Over three years, 89 subjects received PN containing a maintenance dose of LMW iron dextran with a total of 2774 days of exposure. Subjects ranged from two months to 21 years of age and received between 1 and 196 days of PN containing iron dextran. The mean dose of iron dextran in children decreased as the weight category increased from <5 kg (0.21 ± 0.05 mg/kg/day) to ≥40 kg (1.9 ± 0.5 mg/day; P-value for trend <0.005). No anaphylactic reactions occurred in any subjects.


PN containing a maintenance dose of LMW iron dextran can be safely administered to hospitalised children, and further studies are need to evaluate the potential to prevent iron deficiency anaemia and the need for additional IV iron infusions.

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