Ulcerative Colitis Resource Center

Ulcerative Colitis Resource Center

November 11, 2016
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Anemic UC patients often not tested, treated for iron deficiency

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More than a third of ulcerative colitis patients with anemia are not tested for iron deficiency, and nearly a quarter of patients who are tested and diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia are not treated with iron replacement therapy, according to recent study data.

“Our study emphasizes the need to educate gastroenterologists and general practitioners to diagnose and treat iron deficiency anemia at an early stage,” Nabeel Khan, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues wrote.

In what the researchers said was the first nationwide study of iron deficiency testing and treatment prevalence among UC patients in the U.S., they evaluated 836 patients within the VA Database who were newly diagnosed with UC between October 2001 and October 2011.

Overall, 70% of them (n = 585) developed anemia over a median follow-up of 8 years, and among those, only 68.6% (n = 401) were tested for iron deficiency. Among patients tested, 251 (62.6%) were diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, and then 191 of them (76.1%) received treatment with oral iron replacement therapy. No patients received IV iron therapy.

Multivariate analysis showed having mild anemia (OR = 0.08; 95% CI, 0.04-0.17) or moderate anemia (OR = 0.29; 95% CI, 0.14-0.62) and being from the Midwest (OR = 0.5; 95% CI, 0.27-0.93) and Southern regions of the U.S. (OR = 0.56; 95% CI, 0.31-1) independently predicted a lower likelihood of anemic patients being tested for iron deficiency.

“Almost half the patients with mild anemia were not tested for [iron deficiency],” the researchers wrote. “Once tested, almost half the patients with mild [iron deficiency anemia] were not treated with iron replacement therapy. Testing for [iron deficiency] in patients with anemia and subsequent treatment with iron replacement therapy should be considered among the quality process indicators in IBD.” – by Adam Leitenberger

Disclosures: Khan reports he received an unrestricted grant from Luitpold Pharmaceuticals.