IV Iron infusions
What are Intravenous Iron Infusions?
Fereheme, Injectafer and Infed
Iron supplements are given to people who have iron deficiency including Iron Deficient Anemia (IDA). Low iron levels in the body may be have many causes. These causes include poor dietary intake, poor absorption from the intestines and blood loss. IDA can occur in gastrointestinal conditions, chronic kidney disease, heart failure, cancer and women’s health issues.
Traditionally, iron deficiency has been treated with oral iron-containing tablets but these are sometimes not well absorbed and take a long time to have an effect. Nowadays, there are several iron preparations that can be injected into veins (intravenously). Soluble iron salts, injected into veins, would be toxic, so the iron has to be converted to safer forms. All forms of iron treatment work by providing the iron needed for making red blood cells.
- Generic names: Ferumoxytol.
- Formulation: Iron oxide is coated with a layer of carbohydrate to create nanoparticles (microscopically small particles). These are gradually broken down to release the iron.
- Possible side effects of ferumoxytol: The most common side effects are diarrhea, headache,nausea, dizziness, hypotension, constipation and peripheral edema (swollen ankles). Allergy to the medication is possible. In the days following ferumoxytol administration the iron in the circulation may interfere with MRI scans. A possible long-term side effect is iron overload.
- Generic name: Iron carboxymaltose
- Formulation: Iron oxide is coupled to the sugar carboxymatose.
- Possible side effects of iron carboxymaltose: Allergic reactions and increased blood pressure may be seen. The most common side effects are nausea, high blood pressure, flushing, headache and hypophosphatemia.
- Generic name: Iron dextran
- Formulation: Iron oxide is complexed with polymers of the sugar molecule, dextran.
- Possible side effects of iron dextran: Serious side effects are allergic reactions and severely low blood pressure. Some patients have a delayed reaction 1-2 days after treatment including ‘flu-like symptoms, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and joint or muscle pain.