Evaluation of iron deficiency in young women in relation to oral contraceptive use

Giorgia Casabellata, Manuela Di Santolo, Giuseppe Banfi, Giuliana Stel, Fabio Gonano, Sabina Cauci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The purpose of this study was to identify the optimal measures for diagnosing iron deficiency (ID) in oral contraceptive (OC) users and nonusers, and to estimate ID frequency in relation to OC use. Study Design: Conventional biomarkers of iron status - serum ferritin, iron, transferrin (Tf) and transferrin saturation (TfS) - were compared with serum soluble Tf receptor (sTfR) and the sTfR/log ferritin ratio (sTfR-F index). Two hundred two healthy menstruating white Italian women (aged 24±4.8 years) were analyzed. Serum ferritin concentrations 330 mg/dL. No other iron status measure was affected by OC. Of the markers for ID adjunctive to ferritin, an elevated sTfR-F index ≥1.5 showed the best performance. Specifically in OC users, the elevated sTfR-F index had better sensitivity (81.0% vs. 33.3%), specificity (94.7% vs. 92.1%), efficiency (89.8% vs. 71.2%), positive predictive value (89.5% vs. 70.0%) and negative predictive value (90.0% vs. 71.1%) than a TfS

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-207
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007


  • Iron deficiency in fertile women
  • Serum ferritin
  • Serum soluble transferrin receptor
  • Serum transferrin
  • Third-generation contraceptive pill
  • Transferrin receptor-ferritin index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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