Why do I need iron?
Our bodies need iron. Iron is used to make haemoglobin, which is part of the red blood cell that transports oxygen around the body.
Iron is also important for muscle strength, energy and mental function. As the iron levels drop lower, the haemoglobin levels drop below normal. This is known as iron deficiency anaemia.
If your iron levels are low, you may feel some or all of the following:
- Tired and not able to perform your normal daily activities
- Trouble sleeping
- Fast heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
What is an iron infusion and how will this help me?
The most common way to treat iron deficiency is to take iron by mouth as a tablet or liquid. This works for most people and is usually tried first. However, you might need an iron infusion if you:
- are not able to take iron tablets/liquids
- are not responding to iron tablets/liquids
- need to increase your iron levels quickly (e.g. before major surgery, late in pregnancy or to avoid a blood transfusion)
- have chronic kidney disease, chronic heart failure, or inflammatory bowel disease.
An intravenous (IV) iron infusion is an infusion made up of iron, not blood, that is infused directly into your bloodstream. An intravenous cannula is inserted into one of your veins, usually somewhere accessible on your forearm, which is then connected to the iron mixed into a saline solution. In this form, it can then be given safely and slowly to you for over 20 – 30 minutes. Iron infusions work faster to replace iron than tablets or liquids taken by mouth and sometimes more than one iron infusion is required to fully elevate your iron levels.
What is the process for booking an iron infusion?
First, you will need to book a consult with a GP to discuss your need for iron infusion and if you have not yet completed a blood test to ascertain what your iron levels are then the GP will provide you a request to pathology for this. If you have already had blood tests and they indicate a need for an iron infusion then you will still need to book a consult with your GP to obtain a prescription for the iron medication and to book a time for the infusion to be given. The easiest way to do this is to :
- Book a standard appointment with your GP to discuss whether to have an iron infusion or not and obtain a prescription for iron at that time
- Book an additional longer appointment (iron infusion appointment), either on the same day or a day of your choosing with your GP for iron infusion to be given. You are then booked for a 1-hour appointment for an Iron infusion procedure, this includes the pre and post-checks with our nurse.
For those patients who require a second iron infusion, your appointment will be booked 1 week after your first infusion.
What is the Cost?
Please call the practice for the current pricing schedule.
What are the common side effects?
The following side effects can sometimes occur 1 to 2 days after the infusion:
- pain, redness and/or swelling at the site of administration
- muscle aches and/or bone pain
- nausea and/or vomiting
- change in blood pressure
Most people experience no real side effects and if they do occur they are usually transient. But if they persist or are concerning you must return to your GP for review.
Physical benefits and improvement are usually felt within 1 – 2 weeks after having an iron infusion.