A double blind randomised controlled trial comparing standard dose of iron supplementation for pregnant women with two screen-and-treat approaches using hepcidin as a biomarker for ready and safe to receive iron
AuthorBah, A; Wegmuller, R; Cerami, C; Kendall, L; Pasricha, S-R; Moore, SE; Prentice, AM
Source TitleBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
University of Melbourne Author/sPasricha, Sant-Rayn
AffiliationMedical Biology (W.E.H.I.)
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBah, A., Wegmuller, R., Cerami, C., Kendall, L., Pasricha, S. -R., Moore, S. E. & Prentice, A. M. (2016). A double blind randomised controlled trial comparing standard dose of iron supplementation for pregnant women with two screen-and-treat approaches using hepcidin as a biomarker for ready and safe to receive iron. BMC PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH, 16 (1), https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-016-0934-8.
Access StatusOpen Access
BACKGROUND: Until recently, WHO recommended daily iron supplementation for all pregnant women (60 mg/d iron combined with 400ug/d folic acid) where anaemia rates exceeded 40 %. Recent studies indicate that this may pose a risk to pregnant women. Therefore, there is a need to explore screen-and-treat options to minimise iron exposure during pregnancy using an overall lower dosage of iron that would achieve equivalent results as being currently recommended by the WHO. However, there is a lack of agreement on how to best assess iron deficiency when infections are prevalent. Here, we test the use of hepcidin a peptide hormone and key regulator of iron metabolism, as a potential index for 'safe and ready to receive' iron. DESIGN/METHODS: This is a 3-arm randomised-controlled proof-of-concept trial. We will test the hypothesis that a screen-and-treat approach to iron supplementation using a pre-determined hepcidin cut-off value of <2.5 ng/ml will achieve similar efficacy in preventing iron deficiency and anaemia at a lower iron dose and hence will improve safety. A sample of 462 pregnant women in rural Gambia will be randomly assigned to receive: a) UNU/UNICEF/WHO international multiple micronutrient preparation (UNIMMAP) containing 60 mg/d iron (reference arm); b) UNIMMAP containing 60 mg/d iron but based on a weekly hepcidin screening indicating if iron can be given for the next 7 days or not; c) or UNIMMAP containing 30 mg/d iron as in (b) for 12 weeks in rural Gambia. The study will test if the screen-and-treat approach is non-inferior to the reference arm using the primary endpoint of haemoglobin levels at a non-inferiority margin of 0.5 g/dl. Secondary outcomes of adverse effects, compliance and the impact of iron supplementation on susceptibility to infections will also be assessed. DISCUSSION: This trial is expected to contribute towards minimising the exposure of pregnant women to iron that may not be needed and therefore potentially harmful. If the evidence in this study shows that the overall lower dosage of iron is non-inferior to 60 mg/day iron, this may help decrease side-effects, improve compliance and increase safety. The potential for the use of hepcidin for a simple point-of-care (PoC) diagnostic for when it is most safe and effective to give iron may improve maternal health outcomes. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN21955180.
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