In Sweden, infants who were born under 2500g receive Niferex, an iron supplement. The idea is that this supplement helps those children grow faster.

Is there any evidence that Niferex helps "catch up" growth?

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    Could you provide a link that describes the Swedish practice and what they consider growth retardation? – Christian Aug 13 '16 at 17:35
  • I found this link in Swedish. They seem to give iron supplements to children born under 2500g. – user1202136 Aug 13 '16 at 18:38

According to this source, very small children grow very quickly without Niferex. However, oral food is too low in iron to sustain such a growth rate and there is a risk of iron deficiency. That is why Niferex is given to those children.

"Babies that are born prematurely or have a low birth weight (under 2,500 g) will not have been able to obtain sufficient iron while in the mother's womb. Because of the rapid growth rate of very small children, there is a risk of iron deficiency occurring." – From site Niferex.se

Also see Iron Therapy for Preterm Infants for an independent source (thanks to commenter "nobody")

Edit: From this french medical TV show children born prematurely will usually have a normal height within 2-3 years. Sometimes they do not and are medicated with growth hormone.

"Pour la taille, les enfants prématurés rattrapent peu à peu leur retard. Ils croisent les courbes et généralement avant l'âge de deux ou trois ans, les enfants prématurés rattrapent totalement leur retard. De temps en temps, ils ne rattrapent pas leur retard. Dans ce cas, on leur donne de l'hormone de croissance." – Dr Annie Maurel, neuropediatrist – Allô Docteurs, 23/04/2013, France 5.

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  • Is there any chance you can name and quote some of the sources you have linked to to help protect against linkrot? – Sean Duggan Aug 15 '16 at 17:31
  • @SeanDuggan Done! I will think about it next time. – SteffX Aug 15 '16 at 17:39
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    Could you add an independent source? The first seems to be from the medical company selling the stuff and the second mentions growth hormones not iron supplements. – Nobody Aug 15 '16 at 19:43
  • Hi @Nobody. I added an external source which confirms company's claims (though both may be wrong). For the second part of my answer, it is not about growth hormones. I was just intending to give the OP a scale timescale for prematurely born children to "catch up" with other children, per OP's question. – SteffX Aug 15 '16 at 20:03
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    You mean ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2657918 ? You should add authors or a link.That study says in it's synopsis "describe potential management strategies that strike a balance between iron deficiency and iron toxicity." so it doesn't seem to be very clear about whether iron supplements are really necessary. If they do come to that conclusion, quote the relevant part. Otherwise, it's no relevant source. – Nobody Aug 15 '16 at 20:09

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