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Published on 20 March 2008

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The Dunfermline experience of iron dextran

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Although the history of dextran causes some nervousness about its use, one UK hospital has found it a convenient, safe and effective alternative to weekly IV iron dosing for some patient groups

Kirsten Smith
BSc(Hons) DipPharm MRPharmS

Senior Pharmacist, Renal Services

Queen Margaret Hospital
Dunfermline

Aileen Currie
BSc(Hons) MRPharmS

Senior Pharmacist, Renal Services

Crosshouse Hospital
Kilmarnock

UK

Intravenous iron is essential in most patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in order to maintain haemoglobin within the UK Renal Association,(1) European(2) and US(3) standards.

Iron dextran first became available as a high-molecular-weight product, Imferon, in the USA and the UK for IM injection in 1955 and for IV injection in 1971.(4) It was discontinued worldwide in 1996 due to an increased risk of life-threatening anaphylaxis. A lower-molecular-weight formulation was developed and now two iron dextran preparations are available in the USA and Canada and one in Europe



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