New Trial Will Evaluate Iron Infusions to Treat Postpartum Anemia Globally

North Bethesda, MD, November 10, 2022—The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announce the Prevention of Iron Deficiency Anemia Post-Delivery (PRIORITY) trial. The three-year study aims to determine if a single-dose intravenous iron infusion is more effective than the current standard of care, oral iron supplementation, among postpartum women with moderate anemia in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The FNIH is providing more than $6 million in funding for the PRIORITY study, made possible through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Anemia remains a major contributor to maternal illness and mortality worldwide. Despite numerous efforts, rates of anemia have not decreased in LMICs. Women are susceptible to iron-deficiency anemia during pregnancy as well as immediately after delivery, when maternal iron levels often drop precipitously. Intravenous iron treatments have been demonstrated to be a safe, effective intervention to reduce anemia during pregnancy but have not been comprehensively assessed during the postpartum period.

Research teams will enroll 4,800 postpartum women with iron-deficiency anemia across eight sites of the NICHD Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Research in Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Pakistan, and Zambia. The study participants will be randomly assigned to receive either a single-dose intravenous iron infusion or daily oral iron supplements. Researchers will compare the effectiveness of the two treatments at six weeks post-delivery.

In addition, researchers will assess the two groups for important secondary outcomes related to anemia, particularly postpartum depression, which can affect maternal quality of life, fatigue, breastfeeding initiation and retention rates, and infant-mother bonding.

The study is intended to inform World Health Organization policy in treating postpartum anemia globally. If the results justify a change in policy, this will motivate changes in national health policies and practices, improving care for women.

For more information about the project, click here.

About the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) creates and manages alliances with public and private institutions to support the NIH, the world’s premier medical research agency. The FNIH works with its partners to accelerate biomedical advances and therapies targeting diseases in the United States and across the globe. The FNIH organizes and administers research projects; supports education and training of new researchers; and holds educational events focused on areas of unmet medical need worldwide. Established by Congress in 1990, the FNIH is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For more information about the FNIH, please visit fnih.org.

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