Practical guidance for the management of iron deficiency in patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Niepel D1, Klag T1, Malek NP1, Wehkamp J2. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2018 Apr 26;11:1756284818769074. doi: 10.1177/1756284818769074. eCollection 2018.

Author information

1 Department of Internal Medicine I (Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Infectious Diseases), University Hospital Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

2 Department of Internal Medicine I, University Hospital Tübingen, Otfried-Müller-Str. 10, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.GI_IDA_Mgt_Niepel


Iron deficiency or iron deficiency anemia (IDA) are some of the most common systemic complications of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Symptoms such as fatigue, reduced ability to concentrate and reduced exercise tolerance can mimic common symptoms of IBD and can therefore easily be overseen. Furthermore, clinicians tend to see mild to moderate anemia as an inevitable accompaniment of IBD that is sufficiently explained by the underlying disease and does not require further workup. But in contrast to these clinical routines, current guidelines recommend that any degree of anemia in patients with IBD should be further evaluated and treated. Multiple studies have shown that anemia is a main factor for decreased quality of life (QoL) in patients with IBD. Correction of anemia, however, can significantly improve the QoL of patients with IBD. It is therefore recommended that every patient with IBD is regularly screened for iron deficiency and anemia. If detected, appropriate workup and treatment should be initiated. Over the last years, a number of new diagnostic tools and treatment options have been developed. Multiple studies have demonstrated the safety of newer formulations of intravenous iron in patients with IBD and have compared oral and intravenous iron in various situations. Treatment recommendations have changed and new evidence-based guidelines were developed. However, to date these guidelines are still not widely implemented in clinical practice. The aim of this review is to draw attention to the need for treatment for every level of anemia in patients with IBD and to provide some practical guidance for screening, diagnostics, treatment and follow up of IDA in patients with IBD following current international guidelines.

© Copyright 2013-2023 GI Health Foundation. All rights reserved.
This site is maintained as an educational resource for US healthcare providers only. Use of this website is governed by the GIHF terms of use and privacy statement.