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    Old 03-02-2008, 01:11 AM   #1
    cklove78
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    Starting Iron infusions

    I've recently been diagnosed severly anemic. My pcp put my on iron supplements but after to months of no improvements reffered me to a hemotologist. he upped my dosage to three 329 mg pills a day and after no improvement, I now have to start iron infusions. I have no idea what to expect. Any info would be much appreciated.

    Last edited by cklove78; 03-02-2008 at 01:14 AM.

     
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    Old 03-02-2008, 12:36 PM   #2
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    Re: Starting Iron infusions

    cklove78--I personally don't have any experience with IV therapy, however, you can use the search box located above and pull up posts on the subject. Good luck to you. FLFLOWERGIRL

     
    Old 03-04-2008, 08:06 AM   #3
    JJ1
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    Re: Starting Iron infusions

    I currently have to get two iron IV infusions per year. For some unknown reason, I am unable to absorb iron from diet or supplements. I just got ferritin results back from my doctor and it was 4.9, so they are setting me up for another IV (my last one was in June).

    For my infusions, it takes 4 to 5 hours. I am first given a combo of steroids and benadryl. I am allergic to the iron they use in the infusions, and without the benadryl and steroids, I break out in hives. I have to continue oral benadryl for about a week.

    Because of the benadryl injection, I get drowsy and usually sleep during most of the infusion. Then the steroids kick in and I feel very energetic after the infusions, but this is short lived. It takes several weeks before I start feeling the benefits of the iron.

    The worst part of the injections for me is that my hematologist's office is also an oncology office and I get my iron injections in a room with cancer and chemo patients. I feel so bad for everyone getting chemo, especially the very young.

     
    Old 03-08-2008, 12:02 PM   #4
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    Re: Starting Iron infusions

    I went for my first iron infusion yesterday at the hospital and I too was allergic to the iron. Since yesterday was the first treatment, they did a small test dose first and then the nurse said we had to wait 30 minutes to make sure that I didn't have a reaction. About 15 minutes into the waiting time, I started to have a few itchy spots. First by my hairline on the back of my neck and then on my head. Then I started to have some itching on my arms, but you know how sometimes when you start scratching it kind of snowballs and you feel itchy all over, well that's what I thought at first, plus my skin is really dry. Anyway about 5 minutes after that, my forearms were covered in hives and I felt some on my shoulders and stomach. I called the nurse over and she immediately called the doctor, who prescribed the benydryl and prednisone. I also started having a sharp pain on my right side, right where my bra sits and my blood pressure went up pretty high. After I got the shots, I had to wait about 45 minutes before I could go home, but I felt much better. The nurse told me that the dr. wants to see me next week and she was sure he would prescribe a different iron treatment, she said there were two others and that most people are usually only allergic to one or the other. But she did say that one of the treatments is 6 hours long. And right now I am scheduled to go once a week for 6 weeks and then the dr. said they will recheck my counts. I was in the infusion center and there were a few other people there, who seemed like regulars. The chairs were large and reclined back and they covered us with warmed up blankets. I was really nervous before I went, but besides the bad reaction if wasn't bad at all. Good luck to you.

     
    Old 03-08-2008, 11:50 PM   #5
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    Re: Starting Iron infusions

    I go for my first iron infusion tomorrow and I'm really nervous about it. At first my GP ordered a blood transfusion because of the following lab results:
    Hemoglobin--7.7 (11.5-16.0)
    Hematocrit--.26 (0.35-0.47)
    MCV--62 (80-98)
    MCH--18 (25-34)

    However, after talking with a specialist they decided to try an iron infusion first, since my iron panel showed:
    Ferritin--4 (20-160)
    Iron--3 (10-30)
    IBC--70 (45-75)
    Saturation--0.04 (0.15-0.50)

    The frustrating thing is that my iron panels have looked like that for the last 6 years (when they first checked them) and the doctors I've seen acted like it wasn't that big a deal! They put me on oral iron but all I did was have severe stomach pain, vomiting, and basically lived in the bathroom. They've tried different varieties of oral iron but I couldn't tolerate any of them. I used to ask about iron injections but they said it wasn't necessary. *snort*

    My hemoglobin was 9.9 on the 14th of December, so it dropped all the way to 7.7 in 2 months. We've done tests that came back negative for any blood loss through my digestive tract, and although my periods are odd, I rarely bleed at the moment (I'm waiting for a D&C because the lining is too thick, but it's not getting any thicker, so I'm not losing it there).

    So I'm hoping that the iron infusion will boost my levels so I don't need a blood transfusion...still, would be nice to know what is causing it to drop so low. The infusion tomorrow is supposed to take 8 hours! Anyone had one last that long?? Good thing I went book shopping...

     
    Old 03-09-2008, 11:17 AM   #6
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    Re: Starting Iron infusions

    The total time at the doctor for me for the iron infusion is usually about 5 hours. If this is your first time, they will first test you for allergies to the medication which will take about an hour. I also have my iron infusion preceded by an IV of the antihistamine and steroid. So I can see how they would say 8 hours, just so you will be prepared to stay that long.

     
    Old 03-10-2008, 10:37 PM   #7
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    Re: Starting Iron infusions

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JJ1 View Post
    The total time at the doctor for me for the iron infusion is usually about 5 hours. If this is your first time, they will first test you for allergies to the medication which will take about an hour. I also have my iron infusion preceded by an IV of the antihistamine and steroid. So I can see how they would say 8 hours, just so you will be prepared to stay that long.
    Yup, I think the total infusion time took about 6-6 1/2 hours (with an hour before because they had to hot pack my arm to get a vein, and an hour after to watch for any reaction), the first hour being a really slow drip to see if I'd have a reaction. I felt a bit sick when they upped the speed after an hour, but sat with my eyes closed, breathed deeply and reminded my body that the iron was there to help it. I think my body is like "What's that!" since my iron has been at a 4 since they started testing it 6 years ago. *sighs* The only thing I noticed immediately was my hands warming up after about 4 hours, which felt really good! I still feel a bit warmer today...normally I'm so cold I'm constantly bundled up. Unfortunately I have arthritis and woke up this morning with that "did someone take a baseball bat to my bones?" feeling, but they told me it was possible to be achey for a few days... hope it goes away soon!

    How often do you have to have infusions? I'm wondering if this in the only one, or if they will keep ordering them. I can't imagine one curing such a severe deficiency... I have a bruised swollen spot about the shape of an egg (not as thick though! LOL) where the IV was, although the actual IV puncture site isn't bruised at all, so there is a clear dot amid the deep purple of my bruise. It's really painful, I've had IVs before and never had that happen. Do you have problems like that?

    Last edited by corgee21; 03-10-2008 at 10:44 PM. Reason: Posted by accident before I finished typing!

     
    Old 03-11-2008, 09:03 PM   #8
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    Re: Starting Iron infusions

    I have been getting iron infusions about twice per year for the last two years. This last one (which I had today) was at about 9 months and my iron levels weren't too low this time so it was a little better. The doc just wanted me to get a refill before I dropped dangerously low, which I had in the past. My ferritin was at 4.9 about a month ago and today my hemoglobin and hematocrit were just below the low end of normal, which actually isn't too bad for me. When I first started having trouble with anemia, my rheumatologist (for fibromyalgia) measured my iron and let it get pretty low before sending me to a hematologist. It was 2 years between my first iron infusions and just a year for the next and that is when it had dropped dangerously low so that now I see the hematologist for blood work every 3 or 4 months to keep an eye on things and get my set up for the iron infusion before the problems get too bad.

    Todays was very quick. Less than four hours and I even had a little mishap. Thanks to the benadryl they give me, I dozed off and managed to get my IV caught up on the blanket and pulled my IV right out of my hand. Blood and iron were flowing everywhere, kind of upsetting to the guy next to me getting chemo. I really made a mess. It took a good 20 or so minutes to reset. Not sure why it was so quick this time but I am guessing they sped up the dosing. Someone else mentioned that the got a little sick with the higher dose and I did notice that for the first time they said they had included Zantac in the anhistamine/steroid IV, so maybe that was to help my stomach. They also gave me tylenol for the first time. I take Nexium so the Zantac kind of surprised me. I should have asked about it and the tylenol, but daylight savings time and the anemia, had me sort of out of it this morning. Thanks to the steroid,I am doing great now. It will take several weeks to feel relief from getting the iron levels back up.

    Last edited by JJ1; 03-11-2008 at 09:07 PM.

     
    Old 03-11-2008, 10:50 PM   #9
    cklove78
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    Re: Starting Iron infusions

    I had my second infusion today, I go weekly but it's only for an hour, which is nothing now that I see most of you go for 6-8 hrs. Last week I had no side effects, I just got really drowsy from the benedryl. But this week I felt very nauseated and disorriented, I can only assume its from the benedryl again. I've had no difference in my energy level, still exhausted all the time, and now I have bruises on my hands. I heard after my second or third time I may feel a difference. I hope so. 2 more weeks of infusions and then I go back to check my levels.

     
    Old 03-14-2008, 06:55 PM   #10
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    Re: Starting Iron infusions

    The dextran is done in one infusion that take up to 8 hours (mine earlier this week was only 4). You do not go for multiple visits, but get the entire dosing in one long office visit. If you are going weekly, you are getting another form of iron.

     
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