Treating nutritional iron-deficiency anemia in children

June 13, 2017
A small child in Mumbai, with a shaved head, eating bread with her hand. Credit: Wen-Yan King/Wikipedia

In a study published by JAMA, Jacquelyn M. Powers, M.D., M.S., of the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, and colleagues compared two medications, ferrous sulfate and iron polysaccharide complex, for the treatment of nutritional iron-deficiency anemia in infants and children.

Ferrous sulfate is the most commonly prescribed oral despite iron complex possibly being better tolerated. Iron-deficiency anemia (IDA) affects millions of persons worldwide, including up to 3 percent of children ages 1 to 2 years in the United States, and is associated with impaired neurodevelopment in and children.

The most common cause of IDA in this group is inadequate dietary iron intake resulting from excessive cow milk consumption, prolonged breastfeeding without appropriate iron supplementation, or both.

In this study, the researchers randomly assigned 80 infants and children ages 9 months to 4 years with nutritional IDA to three mg/kg of elemental iron once daily as either ferrous sulfate drops or iron polysaccharide complex drops for 12 weeks; 59 completed the trial (28 [70 percent] in the ferrous sulfate group; 31 [78 percent] in the iron polysaccharide complex group). The authors found that ferrous sulfate resulted in a greater increase in hemoglobin concentration at 12 weeks compared with iron polysaccharide complex. The proportion of infants and children with a complete resolution of IDA was higher in the ferrous sulfate group (29 percent vs 6 percent).

"Once daily, low-dose ferrous should be considered for children with nutritional iron-deficiency anemia," the authors write.

Limitations of the study include that it was conducted at a single tertiary care 's hospital.

Explore further: High-dose iron pills do not improve exercise capacity for heart failure

More information: JAMA (2017). DOI: 10.1001/jama.2017.6846

Related Stories

Iron supplements can reduce fatigue in nonanemic women

July 9, 2012

Iron supplementation reduced fatigue by almost 50% in women who are low in iron but not anemic, according to the results of a clinical trial published July 9 in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Anemia protects African children against malaria

January 5, 2017

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world and causes long-term adverse consequences in children. However, concerns remain about the safety of iron supplements, particularly for children in malaria-endemic ...

Recommended for you

Scientists use algorithm to peer through opaque brains

June 26, 2017

Trying to pinpoint signals from individual neurons within a block of brain tissue is like trying to count headlights in thick fog. A new algorithm, developed by researchers based at The Rockefeller University, brings this ...

Tiny bubbles offer sound solution for drug delivery

June 25, 2017

Your brain is armored. It lives in a box made of bones with a security system of vessels. These vessels protect the brain and central nervous system from harmful chemicals circulating in the blood. Yet this protection system—known ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.