The clinical need to be able to administer high doses of intravenous iron conveniently as a rapid infusion has been addressed by the recent introduction of ferric carboxymaltose and subsequently iron isomaltoside 1000. Neither requires a test dose. The maximum dose of ferric carboxymaltose is 1000 mg. The maximum dose of iron isomaltoside 1000 is based on 20 mg/kg body weight without a specified ceiling dose, thereby increasing the scope of being able to achieve total iron repletion with a single infusion. This ability to give high doses of iron is important in the context of managing iron deficiency anemia, which is associated with a number of clinical conditions where demands for iron are high. It is also an important component of the strategy as an alternative to blood transfusion. Affordability is a key issue for health services. Recent price changes affecting iron sucrose and ferric carboxymaltose, plus modifications to the manufacturers’ prescribing information, have provoked this update.
This study is a comparative analysis of the costs of acquiring and administering the newly available intravenous iron formulations against standard treatments in the hospital setting. The costs include the medication, nursing costs, equipment, and patient transportation. Three dosage levels (600 mg, 1000 mg, and 1600 mg) are considered.
The traditional standard treatments, blood and iron sucrose, cost more than the alternative intravenous iron preparations across the dose spectrum and sensitivities. Low molecular weight iron dextran is the least expensive option at the 1600 mg dose level but has the caveat of a prolonged administration time and requirement for a test dose. At 600 mg and 1000 mg dose levels, both iron isomaltoside 1000 and ferric carboxymaltose are more economical than low molecular weight iron dextran. Iron isomaltoside 1000 is less expensive than ferric carboxymaltose at all dose levels. Newly available iron preparations appear to be clinically promising, cost effective, and practical alternatives to current standards of iron repletion.