Intravenous ascorbic acid administration (IVAA) could override recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) resistance in hemodialysis patients with iron overload. We investigated the hematopoietic response to IVAA in iron-overloaded hemodialysis patients. We included 36 patients whose ferritin levels were higher than 500 mug/L and who needed more than 100 U/kg/week of rHuEPO. The study included an initial phase (500 mg IVAA twice weekly was administered to all of the patients for 8 weeks) and a maintenance phase (patient groups were formed; Group 1 received IVAA 500 mg/week for 8 weeks and Group 2 received no therapy). We observed a significant increase in hematocrit and transferrin saturation and a decrease in the percentage of hypochromic red cells and ferritin levels at the end of the initial phase. The total weekly-required rHuEpo dose and rHuEpo/ hemoglobin also fell significantly after the initial phase. The response remained stable in patient groups during the maintenance phase. In 6 nonresponders, the hypochromic red cells were <10%. In conclusion, IVAA effectively overrides rHuEPO resistance in iron-overloaded hemodialysis patients.