My Iron Infusion with Ferrlecit
For the last several years, I have needed iron IV infusions to help remedy and prevent Iron Deficiency Anemia. I've shared my stories about Dextran (along with my severe reaction to it), Venofer and now I'd like to share my experience with Ferrlecit. I had my first Ferrlecit infusion last month.
My Iron Infusion Experiences
- Iron Infusion Side Effects - My Story
After a successful first round of iron infusions, my second round was anything but! Here is my story of side effects with Dextran.
- Intravenous Iron Infusion and Me
Wondering what a round of iron infusions might look like? Here is my experience.
- My Iron Infusions - Switching from Dextran to Venofer
After a bad reaction after an iron infusion, I was switched to Venofer. This is my story.
- My Life Infused
A new blog sharing my infusion experiences.
A Surprise When Going In For My Last Infusion
Every few months, my hematologist tests my ferritin levels. Once my ferritin is ten or less, we know it is time for another infusion.
Ferritin is a great indicator of how likely you are to become anemic. The ferritin binds with iron so if there there is no ferritin, you are in danger of becoming anemic quickly. By being proactive with the ferritin scores, we can prevent my hemoglobin scores from dropping.
I know when my ferritin is low or non-existent because I get so very tired and start napping again.
So, last month, my ferritin scores were at 8. Normal ferritin levels are between 12 and 200 so this is definitely on the low side. I've had tests, though, where my ferritin has been undetectable.
I went in for my infusion expecting the normal Venofer infusion I usually get. Because I have been starting to react a bit more to the Venofer, I get Benadryl through the IV as well. I was told, though, that the Venofer was not in stock and they were going to try a new iron.
I've shared about my horrible side effects with Dextran so, of course, a new iron quite frankly scared me a bit. I knew I need the infusion so I agreed to it. This new iron is called Ferrlecit and rather than the five infusions I need with the Venofer, I'd only need two spaced a week apart. Because we were about to go traveling, they agreed I would just have one this round and test in a month to see if it worked.
Have you had an Iron Infusion?
My Ferrlecit Experience
As usual, I sat in my comfy chair along with a room full of others getting chemo as well as a few others receiving iron. It's easy to spot the ones getting iron because their IV bags are a dark red color.
The nurses know me and welcomed me back. One of the nurses took my blood pressure. She said that with this iron, it was important to monitor because one side effect is a drop in blood pressure. My blood pressure was normal.
Because I don't do that well with iron, they started by giving me Benadryl through the IV. As usual, once it hit (and it does hit quickly), I couldn't speak very coherently so I just closed my eyes and waited for the iron. Turns out this was a push. That means that the nurse very slowly pushes the iron into me over the span of about two minutes. With Dextran, it would take three to four hours and Venofer took about an hour or two. Two minutes is nothing!
As she pushed the iron through, I could feel it traveling up my arm. Felt like a bunch of little stings. It wasn't painful but, must admit, didn't care much for the sensation. Once she was done, I wondered if I could go despite the fact that I was still groggy from the Benadryl. The nurse said that with this iron, they needed to monitor me for about 45 minutes to an hour.
After about 45 minutes, they took my blood pressure again. Don't remember what it was but it was very low. They said they had to monitor me longer. About a half hour later, they took my blood pressure again and it was back in the normal range. They said I could go.
My Side Effects with Ferrlecit
Side effects are pretty normal for me. I'm not one of those ones who is feeling great after my infusions.
I went home and, because of the Benadryl, I napped and that is what I do after each infusion.
Other than feeling really tired for a few days (again, really normal for me), I had no side effects. That is very unusual.
A month later, my Ferritin scores are still good so no second infusion necessary. We're retest in a couple months.
Have you tried Ferrlecit?
March 2015 Update - Another Infusion
I've shared on my blog about my latest infusion experience but just wanted to leave an update here as well. In February, my ferritin levels were really low again. For me, this is pretty normal and I've been having infusions every three to four months now for the last couple years. What was nice though is that rather than a round of five infusions, I only had one last time and it still lasted almost the entire time.
My infusion a few weeks ago went smoothly. They switched back to an IV drip rather than a push and that just felt better. They said they were running into complications with the push. Other than the usual exhaustion, no side effects. Happy about that.
Three weeks later and I feel a lot more energy after only one infusion.
Have You Tried Ferrlecit?
I would love to hear from you especially if you have tried Ferrlecit. I'll be switching to this iron because, so far, it is the easiest on my system. How have you done with it? Or, do you use another type of iron? If you're about to start infusions, of course, I'd love to hear from you as well.