Ferinject Iron Infusion : What You Need To Know

Having had my first iron infusion this year prior to my 5th op, I thought I’d share a little on the procedure and what to expect. It’s also worth keeping this in mind if you are iron deficient but have absorption problems or don’t tolerate iron tablets.

What Is Ferinject?

The intravenous (IV) iron that’s used commonly in the UK is referred to as Ferinject.

It’s a way of boosting iron levels, such as in those with anaemia, quickly, efficiently and more significantly than other treatments, such as supplements or dietary changes. Those with absorption problems or severe anaemia may require IV iron in this way.

To ensure you get the best amount of iron, the element that’s vital for red blood cells and muscle tissue, you’ll need your levels checked through a blood test and your weight recorded.

Who Needs It?

Those who are iron deficient (anaemic) and who can’t tolerate or absorb iron orally. It’s a quicker option for upping levels, so it’s often used pre-surgery when time is of the essence.

Who Shouldn’t Have Ferinject & Other Considerations

There are some instances where Ferinject should not be given, such as :

  • If you have severe allergic atopic reactions, severe eczema or severe asthma
  • If you’re allergic to any part of the Ferinject preparation
  • Those with anaemia that’s not a result of iron deficiency (ie. inflammatory conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis).
  • If you already have to much iron in your blood or issues with iron utilisation
  • Those under 14 years of age

Make sure you tell your GP and nurse of any conditions you have, in particular things like allergies, eczema, asthma, liver problems or infections.

Ferinject consists of 0.24mmol / 5.5mg sodium p/millilitre of undiluted solution, and therefore if you are reducing your sodium for health reasons you should raise this.

You should also cover the medications you have been taking, both prescribed and over the counter. If there’s any chance you could be pregnant, this also needs to be mentioned, as does whether you currently breastfeed.

Any Side-Effects?

The information provided states it is ‘unlikely’ to affect driving or machine operating, but it does come with some possible side-effects.

For instance, the ‘common’ side-effects include :

Nausea, rash, constipation / diarrhoea, dizziness, headache, abdominal pain.

The ‘uncommon’ ones include the likes of :

Low / high blood pressure, itchiness, muscle or joint pain, chest pain, flushing, vomiting, indigestion, tingling/numbing of the skin, and tiredness. Shortness of breath is considered a ‘rare side effect’.

What Happens

A cannula will be placed into a vein in your arm. You will either receive Ferinject through an injection into this, where the preparation is undiluted, or as a drip where it’s diluted with some sodium chloride. The latter seems to be the most common, so the cannula will be hooked up to the fluid bag containing up to 250ml, and this will gradually drip down. In general, it lasts up to 15 minutes. During this time, you will be closely monitored by the nurses. They are the ones who decide the best method of administration, the duration and the dose that’s best for your individual circumstances.

You will likely be given a little leaflet on the procedure before/after the treatment with contact details should you have any concerns or worries about possible side-effects later on.

You’ll typically be kept in the area for a while thereafter, just to ensure you are okay and safe to leave. You can then go about your day as normal (whatever normal is for you personally).

My Experience

I was given IV iron prior to my last surgery because of anaemia and not tolerating or absorbing oral iron well. It also needed to boost my levels fairly quickly, so I was checked a week after the infusion to make sure the levels were back to satisfactory, which they were.

I went to a health centre (one I never knew existed), rather than a hospital or GP surgery. I got lucky because the staff were lovely, welcoming, friendly and put me at ease. They also knew what they were doing and were adept at talking me through what was involved and answering any questions I had.

There wasn’t any pain involved for me, and no side-effects either, I’m glad to report. In total, I was probably there for about 1.5hrs. I arrived a little early, the appointment started about 10 minutes late, which was fine, and there was a decent amount of time taken to set it all up, go through what would happen, and answer their questions regarding my health and medications. It took just under 15 minutes once the IV was started as the amount was reduced a tad to suit my BMI. After that, I was watched for 20 or so minutes to make sure I was okay. I had some water, felt fine, and was back on my way driving home.

All in all, this was a positive one for me in terms of the experience of having it done, and the effectiveness of the treatment to boost my levels at that time. Of course, experiences of such things are different for everyone, but it helps to be prepared and know roughly what to expect. I’m due another blood test soon to see whether regular infusions may be necessary, but I wouldn’t have any hesitation about needing it done again. If you’re anaemic but don’t absorb or tolerate other iron formulations, this is something you may wish to discuss with your GP to see whether this is a possible option for you.

 

Caz 

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30 Comments

  1. October 31, 2018 / 7:05 pm

    I’d not heard of this, but I guess some folks can’t tolerate oral iron pills. I remember taking something similar when I was pregnant, but I had to eat something to take them. Upset my stomach.

    I’ve learned so much coming here.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

    • November 5, 2018 / 5:17 pm

      I don’t think all that many people know about it, so I think it’s good to show it’s typically an option, albeit a last option, for when other treatments aren’t suitable. Iron can be hard on the stomach for sure. I hope your iron has been okay since so you don’t need any more 🙂
      Thanks for the comment – have a lovely week xx

  2. October 31, 2018 / 7:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing some great information Caz! I’m sure this will help people who are facing a Ferinject infusion feel a lot more comfortable with the procedure. I’ve scheduled this to pin! Hugs!

    • November 5, 2018 / 5:15 pm

      I do hope it can help even in some tiny way, whether it’s someone needing an infusion, or who may do in future so they know it’s an option etc. Thanks so much for ‘pinning’! Sending hugs, Terri xx

  3. October 31, 2018 / 7:30 pm

    you are very generous to take the time to photograph & share — whenever I see doctor, am like deer in the headlights lol

    • November 5, 2018 / 5:07 pm

      Aw thats kind to say, I just hope it may help someone in some small way. I still get times that like, being a deer in the headlights, and usually when it’s least helpful! Have a lovely week xx

  4. October 31, 2018 / 8:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing Caz had not heard of this before, I have also heard about slow release fe (iron) pills here which helps in certain anaemic patients .

    • November 5, 2018 / 5:04 pm

      It’s something people can keep in mind if infusions are available as a last resort if other methods aren’t appropriate. I wonder whether people feel better with slow release or ‘regular’ iron tablets, that would be interesting to know! Thanks for the comment, Nisha 🙂

  5. October 31, 2018 / 8:39 pm

    My anaemia responded well to oral medication. But it’s good to hear infusions usually are tolerated well, too. Thanks for gathering and sharing all these useful information, Caz.

    • November 5, 2018 / 5:02 pm

      It’s brilliant that oral meds worked for you to boost your iron back up, that’s the most straightforward way if possible. Do you still struggle with anaemia from time to time since, or are you managing to keep it in a good range now?
      Thanks for the comment 🙂

  6. October 31, 2018 / 9:03 pm

    This is very interesting, Caz. I have regular iron infusions (and B12 injections). I feel marvellous immediately after having it but gradually run out of steam before the next one is due!

    • November 5, 2018 / 5:01 pm

      Ooo it’s certainly interesting you feel so good after them; I think I miss the ‘feeling good’ part after B12 but I do notice when I’m in month 3 and dragging myself around (didn’t notice it with iron but I was unwell shortly after then had surgery anyway so maybe I missed the window of opportunity to experience feeling any better!) Can I ask how often you have both?
      xx

  7. October 31, 2018 / 9:09 pm

    So pleased this was an okay experience for you, Caz. Obviously, if there is to be a need for more/regular treatments, such as this, it’s nice to know you will be taken care of ‘nicely’ and without any negative side effects from the procedure. 🙂
    This is also good information to have. You never know, if and when this info will be needed for self or loved ones! Well done you… 🙂
    xoxoxo

    • November 5, 2018 / 4:59 pm

      Thanks, Carolyn, your comment is much appreciated! I do hope it may help others, even if just a little, as information for the ‘memory banks’ for future use perhaps! Hope you’re well – have a lovely week =]
      xx

  8. October 31, 2018 / 11:36 pm

    I pray your infusion helps. I am glad you had good people, and a good infusion.
    My mom used to have them and had side effects that required them to give her something intravenously to replenish her , but I have forgotten what it was called. I have looked all over the internet for what that was but cannot find it.. I praise God it went well for you. Praying for you!

    • November 5, 2018 / 4:56 pm

      Oh dear, I’m sorry you mum had side-effects when she had IV iron. I appreciate you looking to see what it was called; it’s worth bearing in mind that some people, even if it’s a minority, can react to such things. I’m glad they were able to balance it out by giving something else in her IV. Thanks for sharing Gail, I hope you have a lovely week ahead =]
      xx

  9. November 1, 2018 / 1:46 am

    I’ve been reading all of your old posts, (very nice) and all the sudden there were no more new ones. No I no longer feel odd commenting on the posts.

    • November 5, 2018 / 4:03 pm

      Aw thanks for taking a look through my blog, that’s great and much appreciated. Thanks for stopping by – I hope you have a lovely week ahead 🙂
      xx

  10. November 1, 2018 / 7:33 am

    I find the iron supplements cause constipation but we don’t do IV ferinject in Australia

    • November 5, 2018 / 4:02 pm

      There’s no IV iron at all in Australia? That’s such a shame, I would have thought they’d use it in certain cases. Perhaps liquid iron could be better for you if you need it? x

      • November 7, 2018 / 7:16 am

        I tried the liquid iron first and my body didn’t absorb it at all so I had zero iron in me. I’m much better now but only on the iron supplements, Did the IV infusions give you severe constipation (although for you because of your stoma you probably wouldn’t know) and nausea too?

        • November 7, 2018 / 7:19 am

          In Australia they tend not to do IV infusions unless you absolutely can’t keep anything down. Even if you’re vomiting, they dose you up on anti nauseas and send you home. For example I’ve noticed POTS patients in America receive weekly IV fluids as part of treatment but in Australia they don’t give it to you unless you really can’t stop vomiting.

          • November 9, 2018 / 3:53 pm

            IV should really be a last resort, but it should also be a consideration for those who have something like anaemia where other options aren’t possible. That’s awful to restrict it to the point of being so poorly for it. x

        • November 9, 2018 / 3:55 pm

          The infusion was fine for me tummy-wise. I won’t have tablets again as those were what kicked off my stomach problems initially, 10 odd years ago. It’s so important for docs to keep on top of levels with treatment because, as you found, certain forms don’t always get absorbed when you have other problems going on. x

  11. November 1, 2018 / 7:46 am

    Caz, I can only assume that with low iron you must have been feeling pretty miserable and tired yet you think of helping others, take photos and write a very professional and informative post in accessible English, enhancex with the benefit of personal experience. I hope you are proud of your talent. Xx

    (ps. Not sure why I can’t post direct to your blog..have to add name, blog name etc..or why my view of your page says ‘follow’ when I already follow you?)

    • November 5, 2018 / 4:54 pm

      Aw, I don’t see it as talent at all, so this really made me smile, thank you so much! That’s incredibly kind of you  ♥
      Hmm I’m really not sure what’s happened there with you not being able to comment directly on my blog; I’ve just tried on a different browser where I’m not logged in to WP and it let me comment, but the fact it’s showing ‘follow’ when you already do is also odd.. Have you had that issue elsewhere with any other blogs, Marie?
      xx

  12. November 3, 2018 / 10:36 pm

    Glad to hear it went well!

    • November 5, 2018 / 5:19 pm

      Thanks! Hope you’re doing okay..xx

  13. November 11, 2018 / 11:17 am

    Hello, dear blogger.
    I was reading your blog posts, and stumble upon this one and felt the need to comment.
    Sadly, I am diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, and this has been going on since adolescence. I think I am not absorbing the right amount of iron through food and often, tablets don’t help me.
    Twice a year I have to go to emergency and take an IV with calcium and iron to stable my situation and feel better.
    In contrary case, If I don’t do this IV I end up numb and faint.
    So, in the end I got to say I understand completely the situation.
    Hope you will feel better!.

    • November 11, 2018 / 4:44 pm

      Hey Kate, I’m so sorry you have such problems with iron absorption and deficiency, too. I’m glad at least you’re offered the IV (hadn’t heard of this being combined with calcium, but that sounds like a good idea) but feeling so unwell is awful. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences xx

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