Refractory anaemia (RA) among myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is associated with a partial functional iron deficit and may require transfusions. In low-risk lymphoma and solid tumour patients, iron support improves erythropoietin (EPO) cost-effectiveness in treating anaemia. The aim of this study is to see if oral sucrosomial iron support improves the cost-effectiveness of EPO treatment in MDS patients affected by low-risk RA. We treated patients with EPO only or with EPO plus oral sucrosomial iron or intravenous (i.v.) iron. The need for transfusions was lowest in the group taking oral iron (p = 0.016) or not receiving supplementation at all (p = 0.022). We compared costs of EPO with i.v. ferric gluconate or oral sucrosomial iron supplementation or no iron supplementation. The oral iron group had fewer side effects, fewer patient medical visits in the out-patient setting, and fewer transfusions; this led to higher savings on direct hospital costs and indirect patient costs (lost days at work) and translated into a 50% abatement of overall expenditures. EPO treatment-related expenditures in MDS-RA patients were lowest with oral sucrosomial iron supplementation (Sideral®), with a longer interval between EPO administration in maintenance treatment, quicker hemoglobin recovery, lower ferritin increase and fewer blood transfusions.
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