DOI: 10.1002/ajh.27290 ISSN: 0361-8609

A randomized double‐blind pilot study to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of intravenous iron versus oral iron for the treatment of restless legs syndrome in patients with iron deficiency anemia

Vanessa Short, Richard Allen, Christopher J. Earley, Huzefa Bahrain, Stella Rineer, Kiumarce Kashi, Jesse Gerb, Michael Auerbach
  • Hematology


Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a neurological disorder that can have a profound effect on sleep and quality of life. Idiopathic RLS is associated with brain iron insufficiency despite normal peripheral iron stores. There is, however, a five‐ to six‐fold increase in prevalence of RLS in patients with iron deficiency anemia (IDA). Several open‐label trials have demonstrated symptomatic improvement in RLS following treatment of IDA using oral or intravenous iron supplementation. To date, there have been no randomized double‐blind controlled trials of intravenous iron compared with oral iron for the treatment of RLS patients with IDA. In the current study, oral ferrous sulfate and ferumoxytol were compared for efficacy and speed of response for treatment of RLS occurring in patients with IDA. The planned recruitment for this study was 70 patients with RLS and IDA, to be randomly assigned 1:1 to oral or intravenous iron, using double‐blind, double‐dummy procedures. At Week 6, the primary outcomes of Clinical Global Impression—Improvement score and change from baseline in the International Restless Legs Syndrome Study Group rating scale score were assessed. Due to challenges, performing the clinical trial during the COVID‐19 pandemic, final‐week data were found missing for 30 patients. As a result, in order to maintain the prespecified statistical analysis, an additional 30 patients were recruited. Both IV and oral iron were associated with a marked improvement in RLS symptoms, with no statistically significant difference between treatment groups. No serious adverse events were observed in either treatment group.

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