Q: What is the benefit to an Iron Infusion?
A: In the last five years two new preparations of iron have been developed. These new formulations enable an individual to receive a ‘total dose’ infusion safely in 15 to 30 minutes. This means we can safely and effectively give you enough iron to replenish your normal iron stores in a single treatment. An iron infusion is a considerably faster and more effective method to correct anaemia than iron tablets, which can take months to fully replenish iron stores.
Typically, your doctor will prescribe 1000mg to 1600mg of iron to be given. This is a ‘total dose’ infusion which will correct all your body’s iron stores rapidly. Also, because the iron is delivered straight to the muscles and bone marrow, where it is needed most, most people will experience an improvement within the first few days.
In fact, following an iron infusion you are likely to notice that you are less tired, have more energy, better concentration and become less breathless when taking exercise.
Following the infusion, provided you maintain a healthy diet which includes iron, you will not need any further treatment with iron tablets.
Q: Are there any risks?
A: Overall this is a safe procedure. There are some side effects that about 3–4 people in every 100 notice: The most common is a metallic taste in your mouth, mild flushing or feeling queasy.
Approximately 3 in 100 people who receive intravenous iron do feel some side effects, the vast majority of which are mild and self-limiting. While very rare, more significant side effects may occur in less than 10 in one million people. In a recent detailed review (JAMA 2016) it was suggested that the overall risk was similar to receiving penicillin.