Acute injury with intravenous iron and concerns regarding long-term safety.

Kalkidan Bishu, Rajiv Agarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

72 Scopus citations


Intravenous iron is widely used to maintain adequate iron stores and prevent iron deficiency anemia in patients with chronic kidney disease, yet concerns remain about its long-term safety with respect to oxidative stress, kidney injury, and accelerated atherosclerosis, which are the subjects of this review. Three parenteral iron formulations are available for use in the United States: Iron dextran, iron gluconate, and iron sucrose. Iron dextran, especially the high molecular form, has been linked with anaphylactoid and anaphylactic reactions, and its use has been declining. A portion of intravenous iron preparations is redox-active, labile iron available for direct donation to transferrin. In vitro tests show that commonly available intravenous iron formulations have differing capacities to saturate transferrin directly: Iron gluconate > iron sucrose > iron dextran. Intravenous iron treatment produces oxidative stress, as demonstrated by increases in plasma levels of lipid peroxidation products (malondialdehyde), at a point that is much earlier than the time to peak concentration of catalytically active iron, suggesting a direct effect of iron sucrose on oxidative stress. Furthermore, iron sucrose infusion produces endothelial dysfunction that seems to peak earlier than the serum level of free iron. Intravenous iron sucrose infusion also has been shown to produce acute renal injury and inflammation as demonstrated by increased urinary albumin, enzyme (N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase), and cytokine (chemokine monocyte chemoattractant protein-1) excretions. Although the long-term dangers of intravenous iron are unproved, these data call for examination of effects of intravenous iron on the potential for long-term harm in patients with chronic kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S19-23
JournalClinical journal of the American Society of Nephrology : CJASN
Volume1 Suppl 1
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation

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