Listen to 5 Pearls segment of Iron Deficiency Anemia!

Time Stamps

  • 1:40 Should patients be screened for iron deficiency? If so, who and how often?
  • 3:23 What are the indications for diagnostic endoscopy in iron deficient patients?
  • 5:53 How should you advice patients to take oral iron? What is optimal dosing?
  • 11:41 In which patients would you consider IV iron? What are the risks?
  • 14:44 Throwback Question: What is a medication overuse HA?

Show Notes

Pearl 1:

  • Asymptomatic patients at high risk of IDA should probably be screened, but this recommendation is not evidence based and is based on outdated professional society guidelines.
  • The interval of repeat screening is also not clear.

Pearl 2:

  • Men and post-menopausal women with IDA without any history of overt bleeding should be referred to scope from both upper and lower endoscopy.
  • In these populations, there is an increased chance of malignancy, and an even greater chance of other GI pathology that can be intervened on.

Pearl 3:

  • The exact optimal dose of oral iron is not known and likely depends on the individual patient.
  • When choosing a dose, one should consider the pharmacology of hepcidin-induced malabsorption and balance this with the patient’s side effect burden.
  • Patients should be instructed to NOT take it with food and if possible with vitamin C or citrus food.

Pearl 4:

  • Newer formulations of IV iron are safer and without increased risk for significant adverse reaction or infection.
  • It is quicker and more effective than oral iron in repleting stores.
  • IV iron should be considered in patients who are poorly tolerating oral Fe SE, have malabsorption disease, ESRD or with ongoing blood loss that oral iron cannot keep up with.

Pearl 5:

  • If you notice your patient’s headache changes from intermittent to a chronic, daily headache while using lots of abortive therapy medications, consider medication overuse headache.
  • To avoid medical overuse headache, encourage your patient to limit triptans and NSAIDs to less than 2 times per week on average.
  • Don’t confuse medication overuse headache with a medication induced headache, which is most common drugs seen with drugs like  nitrates, phosphodiesterase inhibitors, and hormones


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