Iron Infusion Side Effects - My Story
My Experience with Iron Infusion Side Effects
Hi. My name is Kay and I have iron deficiency anemia.
Because of my anemia, I have been getting iron infusions for some time now. During my second series of infusions with Dextran, I suffered from serious side effects. I tried to find personal experiences online just to know I wasn't alone and to find out how long complications generally last. There weren't many personal experiences but the ones I found helped! I would like to share my own story in hopes that it provides a bit of comfort for somebody else who has had a reaction from their iron infusion.
More of My Iron Infusion Experiences!
- Intravenous Iron Infusion and Me
Wondering what a round of iron infusions might look like? Here is my experience.
- My Iron Infusion with Ferrlecit
For the last several years, I have had numerous rounds of IV infusions to combat my Iron Deficiency Anemia. Last month, I tried a Ferrlecit for the first time and would like to share my experience.
- My Life Infused
A new blog detailing my infusion adventures.
Seven Months After My First Iron Infusions
so very tired
If you click on the above link, you can read about my experience with Anemia along with my first two infusions last December. There you can learn a bit more about the infusion process as well as the necessity of this procedure for me.
And now begins a new chapter in my infusion experience:
About six months after my last two infusions, I knew it was time to have my iron-levels checked again. I was feeling fatigued and back to taking my daily naps. We were, however, going through a move so I thought the tiredness could just be related to that craziness and put off my appointment. I had a check up already scheduled for July and figured I'd just wait.
The first week of July I had an appointment just to draw the blood with my actual check up one week later. The week gave them time to get all the results back. My doctor and I spoke during the appointment. I explained about my move and exhaustion and that I just didn't know if it was normal or actually anemia. Turns out, I was down to undetectable iron levels again. She wanted me to start my series of two infusions the next day.
Okay, I admit, I wasn't overly excited to be having another infusion but, I really liked having energy after the last two infusions so I was willing. My side effects were fairly mild the first time. True, I was exhausted and felt fluish afterward but that wasn't a huge deal.
Have you had an iron infusion
My Third Infusion
seven months after the first two
I arrived the next morning for my next infusion. I remembered a few tips that made my last infusions easier so I
- drank a couple glasses of water before leaving the house
- brought my own pillow
- just relaxed because I knew what to expect
While waiting for them to start my IV. Another patient and I began conversing. He had severe anemia as a result of some birth defects and had to have infusions once a month. As we were conversing, the Benadryl in the IV kicked in and within minutes I was out. I don't even remember them hooking up the iron. When I say this was the smoothest appointment, it is simply because I slept through the whole thing. The next thing I know, the beeping of the machine telling the nurse I was done woke up up. I hadn't had a full night's sleep the night before and maybe that helped but sure made for an easy infusion!
After my infusion, I was tired. The Benadryl really does wipe me out. I came home and slept a few more hours. After that I was awake but still had that fuzzy-headed feeling that tends to stay with me.
The next morning I woke up and aside from some very mild aches, I was just fine. I didn't feel that flu-like feeling I'd had with the last two. I really thought I was adjusting to the infusions and felt really good about that.
Side Effects of Dextran
The most severe complications related to Dextran can include:
- low blood pressure
- death as a result of a fatal allergic reaction
These complications are rare but do occur.
Other side effects may be a bit more common and include:
- muscle aches
- joint aches
- soreness at injection site
- metallic taste in mouth
Complications Set In!
Let me just say, I apologize that this may be a little graphic but I think others going through this might like to know they are not alone.
Although I had been feeling pretty good the morning after my infusion, by the early afternoon, I had a headache. By mid afternoon, my headache felt migraine strength and nausea took hold in ways I hadn't even experienced with morning sickness. The nausea literally came in waves and anything in my stomach would come forcefully out. I couldn't even hold down any sort of medication for my splitting headache. Just laying my head on a pillow was painful so I propped my self up on an office chair and footstool so my head wasn't leaning against anything and slept as much as possible. For two days, I couldn't keep any food or medication down and my headache was incredibly intense. Because my stomach had completely emptied, I was very shaky, lightheaded and just ill. I was about the most sick I could ever remember being.
I called the doctor first thing after the weekend. I was told that, yes, sometimes this does happen to patients. They cancelled my next infusion and scheduled me to meet with the doctor. They told me that in the meantime I should just rest and try to keep fluids down. Easier said than done. I turned down medication but, in retrospect, something for the nausea would have been nice. The next day, my urine was orange and cloudy. My lower abdomen and lower back hurt intensely. I slept and slept. I felt just absolutely achy all over and was running a temperature between 99 and 100 during all of this.
After two days, the intenseness of the vomiting eased. but violent diarrhea set in. For the next twelve days, I'd struggle with vomiting and diarrhea. Generally, my temperature would go over 99 just before one of these episodes. A week and a half after my infusion, I had dropped my kids off to swim just three minutes from our house. I felt a wave of nausea come over me so I decided to go home rather than get sick in the restroom there. I didn't even make it home. I had to shower and change before picking them up again. In between bouts of nausea and diarrhea, I was tired but starting to get back into life again. Two weeks after the infusion, I had my first day without vomiting or diarrhea and am now feeling quite a bit better.
- My Iron Infusions - Switching from Dextran to Venofer
Hi. I'm Kay. For the last ten years or so, I've been struggling with iron deficiency anemia. When I say iron deficiency anemia, I mean that I just have no iron in my body and diets and supplements do not seem to help much. I've been undergoing...
My Follow-Up Appointment
During the midst of this, I was asked to see the Hematologist. I found out that my blood pressure was really low. Usually I have very good blood pressure so this was surprising. Unfortunately, Dextran (the form of iron they used) is no longer an option for me. My body was just overloaded with it and rebelled. They said they wouldn't chance that again so they'll try a new type of iron (Venofer) next time. They want to give my body a month to recover. So, in one month, I will go back in to have my levels checked and then, a week later, see the doctor to decide our next course of action.
While I would be in no hurry for the Dextran again, I do feel a bit of remorse. The doctor said this was the fastest acting iron. Generally it takes a month to kick in but other irons take even longer. I also found out that they will likely do smaller doses more frequently.
Update: I have included the link to my experience switching to Venofer.
A Helpful Forum! - talk to others going through this same thing
- Anemia Message Board
A forum to connect with others going through infusions and dealing with anemia.
Are you currently going through infusions or about to go through one? Have you had a severe reaction? Comments left on this page help others as well. Also, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org