Munson Health
Anemia of Chronic Disease

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by McCarthy AA

(Anemia of Inflammation; Hypoferremia of Inflammatory Disease; ACD)



With ACD, if the underlying disease causing it is found and treated, the anemia may improve or clear on its own. Iron supplements and vitamins are generally not effective.
For severe cases of ACD, blood transfusions may be necessary. Another treatment is to give erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), which help stimulate growth of new red blood cells. Examples of ESAs include epoetin and darbepoetin . These drugs do have risks that are important to consider before using them. There is some evidence that ESAs may shorten survival in cancer patients.


Iron Disorders Institute

National Anemia Action Council



Anemia Institute

Canadian Cancer Society



Anemia. Mayo website. Available at: . Updated March 2009. Accessed December 13, 2010.

Beutler E. Unlocking the mysteries of iron homeostasis and of the anemia of chronic disease: is hepcidin the key? Blood . 2003;102:775.

Merck Manual of Medical Information, Second Home Edition Online . Merck and Co, Inc. website. Available at . Accessed July 15, 2005.

Weiss G, Goodnough, LT. Anemia of chronic disease. NEJM . 2005;352:1011-1023.

3/12/2008 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Bennett CL, Silver SM, Djulbegovic B, et al. Venous thromboembolism and mortality associated with recombinant erythropoietin and darbepoetin administration for the treatment of cancer-associated anemia. JAMA . 2008;299:914-924.

9/2/2009 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Bohlius J, Schmidlin K, Brillant C, et al. Erythropoietin or Darbepoetin for patients with cancer—meta-analysis based on individual patient data. Cochrane Database Syst Rev . 2009;(3):CD007303.


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