IV Iron Treatment

Iron-deficiency anemia occurs when the body does not have adequate iron supply to produce hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. When a patient cannot take an oral iron supplement, intravenous (IV) iron supplementation may be necessary. With IV iron supplementation, iron is delivered via needle injection into a patient’s vein/bloodstream. A series of IV iron treatments are likely necessary to restore the patient’s iron levels to normal. Depending on the patient, it may take between one week and one month before he/she sees the signs of anemia diminish.


Patient’s who will likely need IV iron supplementation include those who:

  • have bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract and need iron to be absorbed more quickly than with oral iron supplements
  • have inflammatory bowel disease or other intestinal illnesses that are aggravated by oral iron supplements
  • who lose blood during dialysis treatments

IV iron has minimal side effects, but should be monitored for:

  • Gastrointestinal pain such as nausea and cramping
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Skin irritations/rash
  • Chest pain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Anaphylaxis which can include difficulty breathing, itching, and rash

As with any treatment, the patient should monitor symptoms and contact his/her doctor with any questions or concerns.