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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Intravenous (IV) iron

Rino ā-ia auraki (IV)

There are different types of iron solutions. This page is about the type of iron solution called ferric carboxymaltose (Ferinject).

If you are low in iron, your general practice team may prescribe intravenous (IV) iron to boost your levels. This means you will get an iron solution directly into your bloodstream, through a needle that goes into one of your veins.

You will receive the iron at a general practice or the Medical Day Unit at Christchurch Hospital or Christchurch Women's Hospital. If you live in Ashburton, you will go to the Medical Day Unit at Ashburton Hospital.

Your treatment will take at least 15 minutes and may take up to an hour. You will have to be there 15 minutes before the treatment and wait 30 minutes afterwards to make sure you are well after the infusion.

Before your treatment

Your general practice team will ask some questions to make sure IV iron is the right treatment for you. They will want to know if you:

Side effects

Like all medicines, IV iron can have side effects. Your general practice team will talk to you about the possible side effects. Your nurse will monitor you during the infusion to check if you are having any side effects.

The most common side effect of IV iron is a headache. Usually this happens soon after having the infusion and goes away if you take paracetamol. Other side effects include feeling dizzy or sick or staining of your skin around the injection site.

There is a very low risk you may have an allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This can make your face, mouth and tongue swell and can make it difficult to breathe. It is most likely to happen soon after the treatment. This is very rare, but it is a serious reaction. It is why you need to wait for 30 minutes after the infusion to check you have no problems.

If you are feeling unwell or think you may be having side effects, either during or after the treatment, it is very important to tell the doctor or nurse looking after you.

After your treatment

You will have to wait 30 minutes after your treatment, to make sure you do not have any side effects.

If you are at home and could be having an allergic reaction such as your face or tongue swelling, collapsing or difficulty breathing, phone 111.

If you take iron tablets, you will need to stop taking them for three months.

It can take some time for your iron levels to improve. Your doctor will ask you to have a repeat blood test 6 to 12 weeks after your treatment. You may need a second treatment if your iron levels are still low.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed November 2023.


See also:

How to get your daily iron

Iron-rich meal ideas

Taking iron supplements

Page reference: 380676

Review key: HIANA-16978