Our bodies need iron. It is important for muscle strength, energy and good mental function.
Iron is used to make Haemaglobin – the part of our red blood cells that carries oxygen around our body.
The risks of not treating iron deficiency are:
Anaemia may develop, eventually requiring a blood transfusion.
Iron deficiency is linked with a variety of symptoms including fatigue, dizziness, palpitations and shortness of breath with exercise, restless legs syndrome and hair loss.
How Is Iron Deficiency Treated?
The most common way to treat iron deficiency is to take iron as a tablet or liquid. This works well for most people and is safe, easily accessible and cheap. Iron supplements usually need to be taken for 3 to 6 months. The trouble is they often give side effects. Side effects of oral iron supplements include:
Black bowel motions
Why Might I Need IV Iron?
Some people may need iron to be given straight into the body through a vein. This is called an intravenous (IV) Iron Infusion. The infusion is made up of iron, not blood and is given over 15 minutes. IV iron might be needed if you:
Are not able to take iron tablets/liquid
Are not responding to iron tablets/liquid or not absorbing them
Need to get your iron levels up quickly (e.g. before surgery, to prevent blood transfusion, iron levels are very low).
If you have chronic kidney disease or chronic heart failure.
What Are Some Iron Infusion Benefits Compared To Oral Iron?
Rapid return to normal iron levels
Avoids the gastrointestinal side effects of oral iron supplements
Are There Any Side Effects With IV Iron?
Generally when side effects occur, they are mild and settle down on their own. The most common risks of iron infusion include:
Headache, feeling sick or vomiting, muscle or joint pain
Changes in taste (e.g. metallic)
Changes to blood pressure or pulse
Mild fever, skin staining (brown discolouration) may occur due to leakage of iron into the tissues around the needle site. This is not common but the stain can be long lasting or permanent. Anaphylaxis is a rare but serious allergic reaction, which can be life threatening. The risk of anaphylaxis with the Iron injection is around 1 in 1000. You will be closely monitored while IV iron is given, and the procedure will take 60 minutes.
Who Cannot Have An Iron Infusion At Our Clinic?
If you are pregnant/trying to get pregnant (IV iron should be avoided in the 1st trimester)
Have had a reaction to any type of iron injection or infusion in the past
Have a history of high levels of iron, haemachromatosis or liver problems
Have an infection, inflammation, fever.
18 years or under
If you have chronic kidney disease/renal failure
Is Iron Infusion The Practical Solution For Me?
See the doctor for an initial assessment of the cause of the deficiency
The doctor will discuss treatment options and explain the iron infusion protocol and what to expect after iron infusion
If suitable you will be given a script for the iron
The doctor and nurse will administer the injection and monitor you throughout
The procedure will take 60 minutes
Go to pathology 6 weeks later to check your iron levels.
Do I Need To Bring Anything To My Appointment?
Please bring any previous pathology results you may have
If you have a referral letter bring it, but you do not need one
You do not need to fast
Unless you have an unexpected reaction, you will be able to drive home and do your normal activities.
Iron Infusions are available at Premier Health Partners on Monday & Tuesday.
Private Fee - $260 (Medicare rebate of $105.55). The Iron Solution* is available from Wood Pharmacy in Errol St for $39.50 - a script is required).
As Iron Infusion is a more complex treatment than your standard consultation so we request that you please call our friendly reception team to arrange an appointment with doctor Jane Habib or to discuss any aspect of the Iron Infusion procedure (rather than using our online booking service).
Our Iron Infusion GP
Dr Jane Habib - General Practitioner
Dr Jane Habib provides a relaxed and comfortable environment for the health needs for women of all ages. Jane understands the sensitive nature of many issues faced by her patients and approaches all matters with the utmost of empathy and care. Her primary interests include Women's Health, Mental Health, Chronic Disease prevention and management, Palliative care, Integrative Medicine and Education.