Oral ferrous salts are standard treatment for children with iron deficiency anemia (IDA). The objective of our study was to monitor oral iron therapy in children, aged 3 months-12 years, with IDA. We prospectively collected clinical and hematological data of children with IDA, from 15 AIEOP (Associazione Italiana di Ematologia ed. Oncologia Pediatrica) centers. Response was measured by the increase of Hb from baseline. Of the 107 analyzed patients, 18 received ferrous gluconate/sulfate 2 mg/kg (ferrous 2), 7 ferrous gluconate/sulfate 4 mg/kg (ferrous 4), 7 ferric iron salts 2 mg/kg (ferric), 62 bis-glycinate iron 0.45 mg/kg (glycinate), and 13 liposomal iron 0.7-1.4 mg/kg (liposomal). Increase in reticulocytes was evident at 3 days, while Hb increase appeared at 2 weeks. Gain of Hb at 2 and 8 weeks revealed a higher median increase in both ferrous 2 and ferrous 4 groups. Gastro-intestinal side effects were reported in 16% (ferrous 2), 14% (ferrous 4), 6% (glycinate), and 0 (ferric and liposomal) patients. The reticulocyte counts significantly increased after 3 days from the start of oral iron supplementation. Bis-glycinate iron formulation had a good efficacy/safety profile and offers an acceptable alternative to ferrous iron preparations.
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