Iron treatment and inflammatory bowel disease: what happens in real practice?

Sebastian Lugg, Felicity Beal, Peter Nightingale, Neeraj Bhala, Tariq Iqbal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA), the most common extra-intestinal complication of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), negatively impacts quality of life. We audited the recent practice of anaemia treatment in an unselected IBD population.

METHODS: A questionnaire was distributed to adult IBD outpatients in a university hospital to assess the form and frequency of iron prescribed, duration of use, side effects, and completion of therapy. The efficacy of treatment was determined by the resolution of anaemia and change in haemoglobin from baseline.

RESULTS: Of 87 IBD patients (60 patients with Crohn's disease, 25 with ulcerative colitis, 2 with microscopic colitis), 85 received various dosing regimens of iron tablets; 15 patients also received IV iron. Side effects were reported in 43 (51%) patients, with no clear relationship to dose prescribed and 26 (32%) patients were unable to complete the intended course. Only 36 (42%) patients completed the course of oral iron without side effects and in these patients, haemoglobin normalised in about 30%. Their median haemoglobin change was 12.5 (5.3-23.5)g/l. The median duration of treatment in those without side effects was 4.5months, and in those with adverse effects was 2months. Only one adverse effect was reported for IV iron.

CONCLUSIONS: Treatment with oral iron results in failure to control anaemia in 2 out of 3 IBD patients, which is likely in part to be due to the side effects reported by over half of patients. Patients failing to tolerate or adequately respond to therapy should be offered alternative treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)876-80
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Crohn's & Colitis
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency
  • Colitis, Ulcerative
  • Crohn Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Iron Compounds
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


Dive into the research topics of 'Iron treatment and inflammatory bowel disease: what happens in real practice?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this