Vifor Pharma has presented results from a large study which shows that using the company's Ferinject reduces the need for alternative anaemia management compared with oral iron therapy.

The full set of results from FIND-CKD, the longest trial ever conducted comparing intravenous versus oral iron for the treatment of iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) in patients with non-dialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease (ND-CKD) who were not on erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), have been presented at the American Society of Nephrology meeting in Atlanta.

More than 600 patients were included in the 56-week study, which met its primary endpoint of demonstrating that Ferinject (ferric carboxymaltose) given at a starting dose of 1,000mg significantly reduced or delayed the need for ESAs or blood transfusions compared to oral iron and this was achieved with only four Ferinject injections, on average.

Furthermore, Ferinject was well-tolerated with fewer adverse events, no renal toxicity, and no increase in cardiovascular or infectious events. In addition, intolerance in patients receiving oral iron led to significantly more study discontinuations. _

Commenting on the data, Iain Macdougall of King's College Hospital in London, noted that the question of whether IV iron is an appropriate first-line therapy in patients with ND-CKD "is currently an issue of intense debate". He claimed that while the study achieved its primary endpoint and is of importance to clinicians who treat patients with ND-CKD, "I believe that the findings could have wider implications for the management of IDA in other settings such as surgery, gynaecology and oncology".

Ferinject has been available in Europe since 2007 and finally got approval in the USA this summer where it was launched by Vifor's partner Luitpold Pharmaceuticals.