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My Iron Infusion with Ferrlecit

Updated on March 18, 2015
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Infusions

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.

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?

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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.

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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.

Would Love to Hear From You

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    • Cari Kay 11 profile image
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      Kay 18 months ago

      I am going to talk to my doctor about B12 shots. Others have mentioned them and I need to see how my B12 is doing. Thank you!

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      lndagrl 18 months ago

      Hi Cari Kay. I'm so happy you are doing better on the Ferrlecit. That was the one I started a little over 3 years ago when I was at 2. I'm glad that we continued on that IV. I had a gastric bypass about 6 years before and had been feeling so tired (actually falling asleep with my fingers on the keyboard at work - not good!) that I could hardly move. It was explained that I have malabsorption syndrome and that I could eat liver 3 times a day every day and it wouldn't help with my iron/anemia. When I first began infusions they didn't seem to be working - tired all of the time and especially the few days after treatment. The only good part was that I didn't feel like eating at those times either. Once I began to maintain numbers we started to progress from every other week to every three weeks and then finally to once a month. When we went to 3 months it started to fall apart. My doc decided to introduce B12 shots. After the past year on a monthly B12 and an infusion every 3 months I am up to 210. I didn't think it was possible. I still fall asleep in my recliner at night but it is because I am tired from work and activity and it is later at night not at 7 p.m. I had an infusion 2 weeks ago and am now scheduled for a B12 shot every month and an infusion in 6 months with a blood test at 3, 4 and 5 months stay aware of my numbers and how they are holding. I was told that I would need infusions for the rest of my life but if it could be twice a year I would be thrilled. I swear by the B12 shots - they seem to be what has helped my numbers hold. Good luck to you and thanks so much for sharing and being of service to others.

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image
      Author

      Kay 18 months ago

      You really have me intrigued with the PPI thing! I take those pills and wonder if they've been a factor in my side effects. I don't take them all the time though, only when my symptoms are bad. I am going to try this for my next infusion. We'll see what happens. Thanks!

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      Monique 18 months ago

      I'm on ferrlicit now on my 4th infusion. I previously had one infusion on venofer, which landed me in the ER with swollen hands feet and legs and extreme pain in my tummy. After 5 hrs of increased swelling and stomach pain peeked. The side effects began to revese itself slowly.. It took 3 days for the swelling to completly go away and about 2 days for the stomach pain to stop. My first infusion with ferrilict ended in the exact same episide as the venofer. My second infusion of ferrilict i had the same side effects however swelling did not last as long and stomach pain didnt last as long. 3rd ferrilict infusion was exactly like the first. My dr the nurses and the ER dr didn't have any understanding as to why I kept having these side effects. But we all decided to continue the round of 8 infusions i was scheduled deciding the benefits outweighed the risk and I was closely monitored for chest pain wheezing and swelling of the throat or lips. Just before my 4th infusion I realised something very facinating which i'll share now. Before the start of my ferrilict experience my dr placed me on proton pump inhibitors perscibed daily for 1 month. For agressive heartburn i didnt even realise that i had due to living with it for so long. The first infusion of ferrilicit I had forgotten to take the PPI that morning. The 2nd infusion I had remembered and the 3rd I had forgotten again. I also was not on a PPI when I had venofer despite heartburn symptoms which i shared with that previous dr. For my 4th infusion i decided to wait till my infusion stated that day to take my PPI. And I had no swelling and no stomach pain at all. I will be trying this approach of taking my PPI right before the infusion for my next 4 infusions to really see if I have no side effects once again.

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image
      Author

      Kay 21 months ago

      Are you seeing a hematologist? I had one doctor who was finally going to send me to one but we moved and our new practice wanted to start from scratch with testing. I ended up with really low levels that put me in the ER and they sent me to a hematologist.

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