When Is IV Iron Therapy Required for Anemia?


Quick Answer

Anemic patients who cannot take oral forms of iron require Intravenous iron supplementation, according to Cleveland Clinic. Conditions that may prevent proper absorption of oral iron include bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease. Patients undergoing dialysis may also require intravenous iron supplementation, as do those scheduled for high-blood-loss surgery within the following two months. Anemic cancer patients taking an erythropoietin-stimulating agent qualify as well.

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The duration of intravenous iron supplementation may last a few hours per visit, states Cleveland Clinic; this can vary depending upon the exact procedure chosen by the doctor. The patient may need several sessions before reaching healthy iron levels. Intravenous iron supplementation has mild side effects, which include swelling of the face and extremities, abdominal pains, dizziness, nausea and faintness, as well as skin rashes, chest pain and low blood pressure. Anaphylaxis is a potential extreme side effect that can affect breathing. Some patients take an erythropoietin-stimulating agent in conjunction with intravenous iron supplementation to increase red blood cell production within the bone marrow.

Generally, patients undergoing intravenous iron supplementation feel better between one week and a month after beginning treatment, reports Cleveland Clinic. This, however, can vary broadly between individual cases. Patients should carefully monitor any side effects and report them to their health care professionals.

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