Intravenous Iron Supplementation
Iron is one of the minerals in the human body. If you do not have enough iron, your body cannot make hemoglobin, and you may develop anemia. One way of treating anemia is with intravenous iron, which is delivered into the vein through a needle to increase the levels of iron and hemoglobin in the body.
If you do not have enough iron, your body cannot make hemoglobin, and you may develop anemia. This is known as iron-deficiency anemia, the most common type of anemia.
Factors that can lower your body’s supply of iron include:
- Blood loss (caused by ulcers, some cancers, and other conditions; and, in women, during monthly periods)
- A diet that doesn’t have enough iron in it
- Taking medications that interfere with the ability of the body to absorb iron
- An increase in the body’s need for iron (for instance, in women during pregnancy)
What are the symptoms of anemia?
There are several symptoms that may occur in all types of anemia. They are:
- Feeling tired
- Difficulty breathing
- Fast heartbeat
- Feeling cold (including the sensation that your hands and feet are colder than usual)
- Infections (caused by problems with the immune system).
What is intravenous iron supplementation?
Intravenous (IV) iron supplementation is a method of delivering iron by infusion with a needle into a vein. (Medication that is given intravenously is called parenteral therapy.)
You may require an IV infusion if you:
- can’t take iron by mouth
- can’t absorb iron adequately through the gut
- can’t absorb enough iron due to blood loss
- need to increase iron levels fast to avoid medical complications or a blood transfusion
Typically you can expect to spend an hour at one of our clinics for this procedure
How is intravenous iron given?
Intravenous iron is delivered into the patient’s vein through a needle. The procedure takes place in a doctor’s office or a clinic and may take up to several hours, depending on which treatment the physician has prescribed. The patient usually receives iron injections over the course of several visits until his or her iron levels are correct.
What are the side effects of intravenous iron?
The side effects of IV iron are usually minimal, but may include the following:
- Bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
- Dizziness, faintness, or light headedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- Gastrointestinal pains, including nausea and cramps
- Problems with breathing
- Skin problems, including rash
- Chest pain
- Low blood pressure
- Anaphylaxis (a severe reaction that can include difficulty breathing, itching, or a rash over the entire body)
How effective is intravenous iron?
When you should start to feel better depends on your particular situation. Normally, it may take from a week to a month after you start your iron supplement before you start to feel better. Continue to watch your symptoms and take note of side effects that might be caused by the supplements. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your healthcare provider.
An iron infusion is a way to increase the body’s iron levels quickly. It’s a more immediate treatment than supplements or dietary changes. This can be very helpful in situations where anemia is severe.
The physical benefits of an iron infusion include increased energy and easier breathing. You should start feeling these benefits a few weeks after your final infusion treatment. How long these benefits last depends on the cause of your iron deficiency anemia and whether or not you’re using any other therapies to increase your iron levels.
For example, regular blood loss, such as through menstruation, may lead to a chronic drop in iron levels. Depending on your situation, the benefits of an iron infusion may last anywhere from several months to a few years.
How to prepare for an iron infusion
Your doctor will give you specific instructions for preparing for your first iron infusion treatment. Some basic things you can do to prepare on the day of your infusion include:
- eat your breakfast and lunch, as there is no need to fast for an iron infusion
- take your regular medications
- be prepared to have a small IV drip put in your arm or hand
- know how to call for help during your infusion in case you have an adverse reaction
You may feel nervous about your iron infusion. You can help reduce any anxieties by talking about the procedure with your doctor first. They can recommend ways to help you stay comfortable and relaxed during the procedure.
Tips for comfort
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
- Have drinking water available.
- Listen to music.
- Watch a film or TV show on a tablet or smartphone.
- Read a book or magazine.
Cost of Iron Infusion
We strive to continue providing affordable health care for the community.
An initial consult with your regular GP is needed to assess your eligibility which is bulk billed for valid Medicare card holders.
If recommended by the doctor the procedure can be booked at a later date.
Iron infusions are not bulk billed. A payment of $200.00 is be expected to be made on the day of your procedure.
This fee does not include the cost of the iron prescription which the patient must obtain from a chemist beforehand and bring into the clinic on the procedure date.