Iron Infusion Clinic Brisbane

Iron & Iron Supplements

Why get an Iron Infusion?

Iron Deficiency needs Iron … simple enough.

The risks of not treating Iron deficiency are:

  • Anaemia may develop, eventually requiring a blood transfusion.
  • Iron deficiency is linked with a variety of symptoms, most commonly Restless legs syndrome, hair loss, and fatigue.
  • Iron deficiency in pregnancy or breastfeeding is likely to get worse without treatment.

OK, so we all accept that iron deficiency needs treating with Iron.

Start with oral Iron – it’s safe, easily accessible, and cheap. The issue is that “good doses” of oral Iron are required to replenish iron stores in the body. Iron supplements usually need to be taken for 3 to 6 months. The problem is that oral iron supplements  with a high enough dose of Iron often give side effects.

It’s time to think about an iron infusion when Iron supplements are just not working, or causing side effects.

Side effects of oral iron supplements include:

  • Metallic taste
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Black bowel motions

Iron may be particularly helpful in people with kidney disease or heart failure although you should ask your GP or specialist about that. Often the “target” level of Ferritin is kept quite high in these situations. People with heart failure may well benefit from keeping their ferritin above 100.

Which oral Iron supplement should I take?

A lot of people think they are taking iron supplements but the dose is in fact far too low!

Think of the dose of your iron supplement as “elemental iron” and look for this in the small-print or ask the pharmacist. You’ll usually need at least 100 to 200mg per day of elemental Iron for at least 3 months.

  • Ferrous Sulphate with Vitamin C eg. ®Ferrograd C has 105mg elemental iron.
  • Ferrous Fumarate eg ®Ferro-F-tab has 100mg elemental iron.
  • ®Ferroliquid that contains 30mg/ml elemental iron.

What causes confusion is that the dose advertised on the box will be dose of the iron compound, and not the elemental iron. The doses on the boxes of iron supplements is the compound dose which is around 3 times that of the elemental iron. This is a common cause of confusion between patients, pharmacists and doctors.

Many iron supplements available over the counter contain lower doses than doses doctors would prescribe. It’s common to see people with iron deficiency taking one low dose iron supplement per day, for example Ferro-tab contains just 65mg of elemental iron.

How should iron supplements be taken?

  • Take with orange juice or a Vitamin C supplement as 500mg Ascorbic Acid.
  • Remember to take iron supplements on an empty stomach to increase absorption.
  • Antacids for heartburn or indigestion should be taken at least 2 hours before or 4 hours after taking iron supplements.

Iron Infusion

What are the benefits of an Iron Infusion?

  • Rapid return to normal Iron levels.
  • Gets around the gastro-intestinal side effects of oral Iron supplements.

What are the risks of an Iron Infusion?

Anaphylaxis is a rare but potentially very serious allergic reaction and the risk will be discussed with you in the clinic. The best formulation for use in a walk-clinic is Ferric carboxymaltose “as it can deliver up to 1 g of iron in 15 minutes and has an excellent safety profile.” It is considered normal practice for Iron Infusions to be administered in the general practice setting when full Resuscitation facilities are available.

Other side effects that can occur at the time of the infusion are headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, joint aches and metallic taste. Side effects that may occur a day or two later are headache, joint ache, muscle ache or mild fever.

How is The Iron Infusion given?

The Ferric Carboxymaltose infusion is given into a vein over 15 minutes. Up to 1g may be administered in one session.

Ferritin is a measure of Iron levels and will peak around 7-9 days after the infusion.

I want the Practicalities of an Infusion!

  • See The doctor for an initial assessment – what is the cause of the iron deficiency?
  • The doctor gives you treatment options which may include an iron infusion.
  • Intravenous cannula is inserted at the infusion appointment.
  • The injection is administered by The doctor.
  • You need to stay in the clinic for 30 minutes after the infusion.
  • Go to pathology 2 to 6 weeks later to re-check your Iron levels.