Measurement of the serum ferritin level is the most useful diagnostic assay for detecting iron deficiency
but interpretation may be difficult in patients with comorbidities. Identifying the cause of iron deficiency is
crucial. Referral to a gastroenterologist is often required. Faecal occult blood testing is not recommended.
A negative result does not impact on the diagnostic evaluation. Oral iron is an effective first-line treatment
and simple strategies can facilitate patient tolerance. For patients who cannot tolerate oral therapy or require
more rapid correction of iron deficiency, intravenous iron infusions are safe, effective and practical. Intramuscular
iron is no longer recommended for patients of any age.
Modern Medicine – April 2018