Daily home fortification with iron as ferrous fumarate versus NaFeEDTA: A randomised, placebo-controlled, non-inferiority trial in Kenyan children

Emily M. Teshome*, Pauline E.A. Andang'o, Victor Osoti, Sofie R. Terwel, Walter Otieno, Ayse Y. Demir, Andrew M. Prentice, Hans Verhoef

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: We aimed to show the non-inferiority of home fortification with a daily dose of 3 mg iron in the form of iron as ferric sodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate (NaFeEDTA) compared with 12.5 mg iron as encapsulated ferrous fumarate in Kenyan children aged 12-36 months. In addition, we updated a recent meta-analysis to assess the efficacy of home fortification with iron-containing powders, with a view to examining diversity in trial results. Methods: We gave chemoprevention by dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, albendazole and praziquantel to 338 afebrile children with haemoglobin concentration ≥70 g/L. We randomly allocated them to daily home fortification for 30 days with either placebo, 3 mg iron as NaFeEDTA or 12.5 mg iron as encapsulated ferrous fumarate. We assessed haemoglobin concentration (primary outcome), plasma iron markers, plasma inflammation markers and Plasmodium infection in samples collected at baseline and after 30 days of intervention. We conducted a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials in pre-school children to assess the effect of home fortification with iron-containing powders on anaemia and haemoglobin concentration at end of intervention. Results: A total of 315 children completed the 30-day intervention period. At baseline, 66.9% of children had inflammation (plasma C-reactive protein concentration >5 mg/L or plasma α 1-acid glycoprotein concentration >1.0 g/L); in those without inflammation, 42.5% were iron deficient. There was no evidence, either in per protocol analysis or intention-to-treat analysis, that home fortification with either of the iron interventions improved haemoglobin concentration, plasma ferritin concentration, plasma transferrin receptor concentration or erythrocyte zinc protoporphyrin-haem ratio. We also found no evidence of effect modification by iron status, anaemia status and inflammation status at baseline. In the meta-analysis, the effect on haemoglobin concentration was highly heterogeneous between trials (I 2: 84.1%; p value for test of heterogeneity: <0.0001). Conclusions: In this population, home fortification with either 3 mg iron as NaFeEDTA or 12.5 mg iron as encapsulated ferrous fumarate was insufficiently efficacious to assess non-inferiority of 3 mg iron as NaFeEDTA compared to 12.5 mg iron as encapsulated ferrous fumarate. Our finding of heterogeneity between trial results should stimulate subgroup analysis or meta-regression to identify population-specific factors that determine efficacy. Trial Registration: The trial was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov ( NCT02073149 ) on 25 February 2014.

Original languageEnglish
Article number89
Number of pages16
JournalBMC Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2017



  • Anaemia
  • Child
  • Ferric sodium EDTA
  • Home fortification
  • Iron
  • Meta-analysis
  • Non-inferiority
  • Pre-school

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