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BACKGROUND: The objective was to evaluate efficacy and safety of rapid, large-dose intravenous (IV) administration of ferric carboxymaltose compared to oral iron in correcting iron deficiency anemia due to heavy uterine bleeding.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: In a randomized, controlled trial, 477 women with anemia, iron deficiency, and heavy uterine bleeding were assigned to receive either IV ferric carboxymaltose (≤1000 mg over 15 min, repeated weekly to achieve a total calculated replacement dose) or 325 mg of ferrous sulfate (65 mg elemental iron) prescribed orally thrice daily for 6 weeks.

RESULTS: Compared to those assigned to ferrous sulfate, more patients assigned to ferric carboxymaltose responded with a hemoglobin (Hb) increase of 2.0 g/dL or more (82% vs. 62%, 95% confidence interval for treatment difference 12.2-28.3, p < 0.001), more achieved a 3.0 g/dL or more increase (53% vs. 36%, p < 0.001), and more achieved correction (Hb ≥ 12 g/dL) of anemia (73% vs. 50%, p < 0.001). Patients treated with ferric carboxymaltose compared to those prescribed ferrous sulfate reported greater gains in vitality and physical function and experienced greater improvement in symptoms of fatigue (p < 0.05). There were no serious adverse drug events.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with iron deficiency anemia due to heavy uterine bleeding, rapid IV administration of large doses of a new iron agent, ferric carboxymaltose, is more effective than oral iron therapy in correcting anemia, replenishing iron stores, and improving quality of life.