Effects of ferric carboxymaltose on markers of mineral and bone metabolism: A single-center prospective observational study of women with iron deficiency

Rebecca Frazier*, Alexander Hodakowski, Xuan Cai, Jungwha Lee, Anaadriana Zakarija, Brady Stein, Valentin David, Myles Wolf, Tamara Isakova, Rupal Mehta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Two weekly infusions of ferric carboxymaltose (FCM) are commonly prescribed for treatment of iron-deficiency anemia. However, administration of FCM increases intact levels of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), which causes hypophosphatemia due to renal phosphate wasting, calcitriol deficiency and secondary hyperparathyroidism. The adverse effects of FCM on mineral metabolism and bone health emerged from case reports and secondary analyses of trials. Data on these safety signals with FCM in clinical practice are limited because markers of mineral and bone metabolism are not routinely checked. Methods: To obtain real-world experience with effects of FCM on mineral and bone metabolism, we conducted a prospective observational study of 16 women who were managed at a single-center hematology clinic for iron-deficiency anemia. From October 2016 to February 2018, all participants received two weekly infusions of FCM at a hematology infusion clinic. We hypothesized that FCM would decrease phosphate, increase intact FGF23 (iFGF23), and decrease c-terminal FGF23 (cFGF23). Secondary outcomes were changes in hemoglobin, iron indices, urine fractional excretion of phosphate (FePi), parathyroid hormone (PTH), calcitriol, calcium, osteocalcin, and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP). FCM was administered at weeks zero and one, and we measured laboratory values at weeks zero, one, two, and five of the study. We used linear mixed models to analyze the significance of the changes in laboratory values over time. Results: After two FCM infusions, nearly all (14 of 16) participants developed hypophosphatemia. iFGF23 increased, cFGF23 decreased, and phosphate decreased significantly from week zero to week two (iFGF23 increased by +134.0% [40.6, 305.8], p < 0.001; cFGF23 decreased by −516.3% [−1332.7, −142.7], p = 0.002; phosphate decreased by −49.8 ± 15.4%, p < 0.001). There was also a significant increase in FePi, PTH, and BAP and a significant decrease in calcitriol and calcium from week zero to week two. There was no significant change in osteocalcin during this time period. iFGF23, but not PTH, was independently associated with decreased phosphate. iFGF23 was also significantly associated with decrease in calcitriol from week zero to week two. Elevation in BAP suggests disordered bone mineralization in response to FCM therapy. Conclusion: In this prospective observational study of women with iron deficiency anemia, two FCM infusions significantly altered markers of bone mineralization and mineral metabolism. The results suggest that FCM should be used cautiously in the treatment of iron-deficiency anemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115559
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase
  • Ferric carboxymaltose
  • Fibroblast growth factor 23
  • Hypophosphatemia
  • Iron-deficiency anemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology


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