What are iron injections?

Side effects of oral iron pills can include nausea.

Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia in the United States, according to the National Anemia Action Council. In many cases, the problem can be corrected by dietary changes or taking iron supplements by mouth. In some cases, however, the best way to correct iron deficiency is through the use of iron injections. Injections can be given intramuscularly, into the buttocks, or intravenously (IV). Both types must be administered by trained medical personnel.

Side effects of iron injections can include muscle aches and pains.

Oral iron supplements are often used to increase iron levels, but oral iron pills can cause unpleasant side effects such as upset stomach and constipation. For people who need additional iron but cannot get enough by mouth, a doctor may suggest iron injections. These injections can be given into the muscle or given intravenously, and are an efficient way to get iron-rich fluids directly into the body. These injections help the body form red blood cells faster than other forms of iron and are also helpful for people who are unable to absorb iron due to medications they are taking or for other reasons. This is the best form of supplementation for anyone who has a serious problem with anemia.

Side effects of iron injections can include headache.

There are three main types of iron injections. What a patient receives is determined by their medical conditions and physical condition. The most commonly used type of injection is iron dextran, which has the advantage that it can be given in a single large dose. Iron dextran is available in intramuscular and intravenous formulations.

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Side effects of iron injections can include fever and chills.

For people who cannot tolerate iron dextran, ferumoxitol is a newer form of injectable iron, given only intravenously. This iron is administered in two doses, with an interval of three to eight days. The administration of ferumoxitol does not take as long as the administration of iron dextran, and is generally well tolerated and effective.

The third type of iron injection is known as a carbohydrate injection because it includes a form of sugar along with the iron suspension. The two solutions that fall into this category are iron sucrose and ferric gluconate. Both are given in a series of small multiple doses and are given in an intravenous form only. These do not cause allergic reactions in patients, but require many trips to the doctor for IVs.

Iron injections can be given intravenously.

Allergic reactions are possible with iron dextran and ferumoxitol injections, including anaphylaxis, which can be fatal. Other possible side effects of all three types can include nausea, dizziness, flushing, muscle pain, joint pain, headache, fever, chills, a drop in blood pressure, and inflammation or pain at the injection site. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person. Despite the possible downsides, for those who need them, iron injections can be beneficial, even life-saving, and are worth putting up with some discomfort.

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