Intravenous Injection (IV) of Iron

Information for patients

If you have any questions after reading this information, please speak to your nurse.

Why you are having IV iron

You have been found to be anaemic with low iron levels. IV iron is given to patients when oral iron does not work or is poorly tolerated, or where iron stores need to be built up quickly e.g. in preparation for an operation. Anaemia, with the associated risk of a blood transfusion during/after an operation, is associated with poorer outcomes and improving your iron stores helps treat that anaemia.

How IV iron will be given

  • Your vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, pulse and oxygen levels) will be taken before you receive IV iron.
  • The IV iron will be given as an slow injection through a cannula (plastic tube) inserted into your hand/arm; the injection is given over 30 minutes.
  • Your vital signs will be taken again after the injection and you will be observed for 30 minutes to make sure you feel well.

Please let your nurse know if you feel unwell whilst the injection is running.

Possible side effects with IV iron

Like all medicines IV iron can cause side effects.

Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)

  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Discomfort at the cannula site during the injection
  • Irritation or mild infection at site of injection
  • There is a 1 in 10 chance of leaking of iron into the skin at the site of the injection (extravasation), which causes permanent staining of the skin

Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people)

  • Headache, fatigue
  • Flushing, fever, shivering
  • Non allergic reaction (Fishbane): symptoms may include facial flushing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and/or joint pains. This usually settles quickly if the injection is stopped and/or continued more slowly.
  • Dizziness, blurred vision, altered sense of taste, numbness
  • Stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation
  • Low or high blood pressure, or increased heart rate
  • Hives and itching
  • Low phosphate levels

Rare (up to 1 in 1000 people)

  • Palpitations, hoarseness, tremor, seizure
  • Flu like illness a few hours to a few days after the injection e.g. fever, aches and pains in muscles and joints
  • Serious allergy (anaphylaxis): swelling of face, mouth, tongue and difficulty breathing

Please seek medical help if you feel unwell at home within 48 hours after the injection or experience any of the above side effects badly.

Intravenous Injection (IV) of Iron