Iron Infusion Side Effects: All You Need to Know


Iron infusion is the fastest way to boost your blood iron levels and fight the onset of iron deficiency anemia. Still, you must be aware of potential iron infusion side effects before you try this treatment.

In this post, we will discuss what an infusion is, the possible side effects, and other information 

What happens when you have low iron levels?

In general, our bodies need iron to form hemoglobin, the red pigment of the blood. Aside from that, iron is crucial for energy conversion and oxygen transport in the body.

However, the human body can’t produce iron on its own. We need to consume it through our diet with food items like red meat, seafood, and leafy vegetables.

The bad news is that millions of people don’t get enough iron from their food. This is why iron deficiency is the leading cause of anemia worldwide.

According to the World Health Organization, 29.9% of women globally suffer from anemia. Meanwhile, 39.8% of children under five are also found to be iron deficient. 

Iron deficiency anemia is characterized by shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, paleness, and heart palpitations. Also, low iron levels can negatively affect a person’s mood, immune system, and appetite. 

With this, many individuals resort to over-the-counter iron supplements. While it works in increasing their intake, it can also trigger side effects due to the high elemental iron needed to achieve efficacy. 

In that case, iron infusion becomes a better option.  

What is an iron infusion?

Iron infusion, also known as Iron IV Therapy, delivers a dose of iron directly into your vein.

Unlike supplements, iron IV infusions are supplied directly into the bloodstream. It bypasses the digestive system, which means it has higher absorption rates and a lower risk of gastrointestinal upset.

During this treatment, a licensed medical professional will insert a needle into your vein to make way for a plastic tube or a catheter.

One end of the catheter is inserted into your vein, and the other is connected to a long tube. This tube is attached to an intravenous (IV) bag that holds the iron infusion.

Take note that an iron infusion session takes 3 to 4 hours. This duration is due to the fact that iron should be administered slowly to avoid adverse side effects.

Throughout the session, you’ll remain seated and relaxed. You can work on your laptop or phone as long as the injected arm is at rest.

Who should get an iron infusion

Many doctors prescribe iron infusions to combat iron deficiency anemia. It’s often the alternative solution when a person can’t take oral iron supplements for some reason.

Moreover, patients that don’t respond well to oral iron supplements are given infusions instead.

Individuals undergoing kidney dialysis may also need an iron infusion due to some level of blood loss during the treatment. However, iron infusions, in this case, are strictly upon the prescription of the attending physician only.

As much as iron infusions are helpful, this treatment is not for everyone. 

Pregnant women and those with eczema, asthma, and allergies should consult their doctors before getting an iron infusion. The same goes for people with a history of liver problems or currently taking certain medications. 

If you have doubts about whether an iron infusion suits you, call us, and our licensed nurse will conduct a one-on-one consultation. Those with lingering illnesses are advised to seek their doctor’s approval first.

Iron infusion vs. iron injection

Aside from iron infusion, another popular way to boost iron levels is through an injectable ferric carboxymaltose solution (Ferinject).

Unlike iron infusions that take up to 4 hours to finish, an iron injection provides a full dose in seconds. With this, iron injections are preferred by those who have busy schedules.

However, iron injections require multiple doses over the course of 5 to 10 weeks. It’s important to finish the entire treatment to achieve clinical efficacy and safety.

Also, iron injections are painful and can cause orange discoloration on the injection site. It can also trigger intramuscular bleeding in some patients.

On the other hand, iron infusions are more comfortable than their injectable counterpart. While it takes hours to administer, you won’t be required to get multiple doses.

Aside from that, iron infusions can be done anywhere you prefer. At IV Concierge, our team will deliver your iron infusion to your home, office, hotel room, and so on. You no longer have to go to a hospital or line up at a clinic to boost your iron levels.

What are the side effects of iron infusion?

Any treatment always has a risk of causing side effects. As for iron infusions, these side effects are usually minor and will clear up in a matter of hours.

The following are the most common side effects of iron IV:

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness when getting up suddenly
  • Swelling in the face, arms, hands, and lower extremities
  • Gastrointestinal irritation like nausea, cramps, or vomiting
  • Joint pain and/or muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Fluctuations in blood pressure levels

Most of the listed side effects are mild and will not require medical intervention. Enough rest after the treatment will allow these symptoms to subside.

Overall, long-term side effects of iron infusion are uncommon, but caution is still necessary.

It’s because haphazard and unprofessional administration of iron can lead to serious side effects.

While rare, iron toxicity can occur if the infusion is administered too fast. This causes breathing difficulty, sudden weakness, chest pain, confusion, fainting, and hives.

These adverse effects will also occur if the person is given an extremely high iron dose. As iron accumulates in the body tissues, anaphylactic shock will set in.

If any of these adverse side effects occur, the person should notify his infusion provider immediately. If the provider isn’t available, it’s best to go to the nearest hospital.

Iron infusion in pregnancy side effect

According to the World Health Organization, 40% of pregnant women globally are anemic. This is why iron supplementation is necessary as part of an expectant mother’s antenatal care.

Still, iron supplements should only be given to pregnant women (and any person for that matter) if there’s a deficiency to be corrected. 

The most common solution to pregnancy-related iron deficiency is oral supplements. Most doctors recommend 100 to 200 mg of elemental iron daily for childbearing periods. 

Some women will opt for iron injections. It’s painful, and some individuals may not tolerate it well.

For this reason, many women request iron infusions from their doctors to combat exhaustion during pregnancy.

This is considered safe with a doctor’s prescription and after the first trimester of the pregnancy. However, some patients may experience diarrhea, constipation, and drastic blood pressure changes.

If you’re a pregnant person who experiences any of these after an iron infusion, you must call your provider and doctor immediately.

Is it normal to feel sick after an iron infusion?

A 2021 consensus review of experts mentioned that up to a third of iron infusion patients experience flu-like symptoms 2 to 5 days after the treatment.

This gives the patients a ‘sick feeling’, including joint pain, mild fever, and muscle aches. While it can be alarming, these flu-like symptoms will subside after 1 to 2 days with ample rest and hydration.

Those who have iron infusion-related headaches can take paracetamol to ease the discomfort.

Overall, this sick feeling is the body’s response to the new substance it received. Once the iron infusion is absorbed, your body will regain its strength.

However, if the person’s condition worsens or doesn’t improve, it’s best to consult a medical professional.

How long do iron infusion side effects last?

Most mild side effects of iron infusion will resolve after two days. And for safety purposes, your provider should observe you for 30 minutes after the infusion is finished.

Resting and staying hydrated can help speed up your recovery from the mild side effects.

Before the treatment, eat a healthy breakfast or lunch – there’s no need to fast. An iron infusion takes up to 4 hours, so it’s good to eat enough before going to your appointment. Also, this can help reduce potential side effects since your body has sufficient energy.

But can iron infusions make you sick for a long time? Long-term issues are rare in iron infusions. As long as you’re getting treatment from a licensed and experienced professional, you don’t have to worry about getting ill.

How to avoid the side effects of iron infusions for anemia

The best way to prevent the potential side effects of iron infusion is to trust professionals. You should only get your IV treatment from a medically licensed, experienced, and legitimate provider.

Licensed medical professionals know how to personalize your iron dosage. This is a crucial aspect because too much can trigger serious side effects; too little and you won’t reap the benefits.

At IV Concierge, we conduct a blood test to determine if you have an iron deficiency. From there, we will make a personalized iron infusion that suits your needs.

We also conduct an initial consultation to learn more about your medical background. This will help us advise whether an iron infusion is the best treatment for you.

If you get an iron infusion under the care of a licensed nurse or doctor, you’ll have peace of mind. It’s also safer because licensed professionals are trained to handle any adverse reactions that may occur during or after the treatment.

Positive effects of iron infusions

The benefits of iron infusion outweigh the minor side effects that you may experience. If done right and by a licensed professional, you’ll enjoy these good effects:

Fights and treats anemia

The main benefit of iron infusion is fighting iron deficiency anemia. It restores healthy iron levels in the blood to ensure that the body can produce an ample supply of hemoglobin.

Hemoglobin is a protein responsible for carrying oxygen in your red blood cells. Enough iron means there would be sufficient hemoglobin to carry oxygen to different parts of the body.

As you know, oxygen is the life force of the human body. Every single cell in our bodies needs oxygen to thrive.

For that to happen, we need to ensure that our iron levels are enough. Iron infusions are one way to do it.

Boosts energy levels

Did you know that low iron levels can make you feel tired? This extreme weakness and exhaustion are due to the body’s failure to get enough oxygen.

When this happens, you’ll feel sluggish and worn out for no reason. This can happen even if you got enough sleep or have not exerted strenuously.

What iron infusion does is supply your body with energy-boosting iron. The dosage is customized based on your level of deficiency.

Easier breathing

Low iron levels cause shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Even a common physical activity such as walking can get you winded.

So aside from improving your energy levels, iron infusions will also help with your breathing. The iron content of the drip will ensure that your lungs receive enough oxygen, even if you’re doing intense physical activities.

Aside from observing a healthy lifestyle, an iron infusion can help resolve your anemia-related breathing problems.

Reduces the risk of stomach upset

One problem with oral iron supplements is they can easily upset the stomach. And since you need to take higher oral doses to achieve efficacy, tummy troubles are likely to happen.

Also, individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) don’t handle oral iron supplements well. Oral iron can make the symptoms of IBD worse.

Meanwhile, people with absorption issues won’t reap any benefits from oral solutions. It’s because their bodies expel high levels of oral iron instead of absorbing it into the bloodstream.

In this situation, iron infusions are indispensable. It allows the individuals mentioned above to replenish their iron levels without suffering from harsh side effects.

Better mood

Aside from producing hemoglobin, iron also plays a vital role in various neurological processes. This is why an iron deficiency can also trigger depressive and anxiety symptoms.

A 2020 study found that individuals with iron deficiency anemia have a higher risk of psychiatric disorders. While iron isn’t the only cause of psychiatric conditions, it’s concluded that this mineral can affect mood regulation.

Also, the same study noted that anemic patients receiving iron supplements have a lower risk of sleep disorders. Take note that sleep quality greatly affects our mood.

So if you’re suffering from anemia, you should consider getting an iron infusion to help boost your physical and mental health.

Faster results

Since iron infusions are administered directly into your vein, your blood will get its much-needed iron immediately.

Also, you’re guaranteed high absorption since the iron will not pass the digestive system, where wastage may occur.

You’ll start to feel the effects right after the treatment, and you don’t have to go through multiple sessions just to get results.

In fact, iron infusions are faster compared to oral solutions in terms of absorption. While you can pop a pill in a second, it will take hours for the iron to reach your bloodstream.

In the long run, infusions will deliver iron into your system faster, so the 3-hour session is worth the wait.

More comfortable

If you hate intramuscular injections, iron infusions would be an excellent alternative for you. Iron infusions cause minimal discomfort, and the side effects are mild.

You can also relax, watch a movie, or work on your computer while waiting for the session to finish.

Also, iron infusions rarely cause intramuscular bleeding or orange discoloration often experienced in injectable versions.

Totally convenient

Above all, iron infusions are convenient and can be delivered wherever you are. You don’t have to queue, drive to a clinic, or go to the hospital. A mobile IV therapy company like IV Concierge will bring it to you through one of our licensed nurses.

This way, you don’t have to leave your house feeling unwell due to low iron levels. You can get the infusion you need as you rest in your home.

Get iron IV therapy without the side effects!

If you want an iron infusion without the side effects, you can trust IV Concierge. We are an in-demand mobile IV therapy company in Miami offering 20+ IV drip formulas.

For your iron infusion, our licensed nurses and a medical doctor will prepare a personalized drip with a dosage that’s safe and effective.

To ensure your comfort, our licensed nurse will monitor you throughout the session. We will also observe you after the treatment as part of our protocol.

If you’re in South Florida, call us to schedule your iron infusion session. We also have offices in Delray Beach, North Miami Beach, and Boca Raton if you want to visit us personally.

Call us to schedule your appointment for on-site or in-house treatments. We accept same-day bookings and same-day results if you also need a blood test. With us, you can treat iron deficiency anemia easily!

Discover the top 4 tips

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the top 4 tips

that help you fully

recover from Covid-19