What Is Ferumoxytol?

Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell

Ferumoxytol is a prescription medication that is used to treat a condition known as iron deficiency anemia in those who have chronic kidney disease or any other significant loss of kidney function. This type of medication is used only in adults and is delivered in the form of an injection. Side effects are rare when taking ferumoxytol, although some patients may develop mild to moderate complications. The most commonly reported side effects include discomfort or irritation at the site of the injection, dizziness, or easy bruising. Any questions or concerns about the use of ferumoxytol on an individual basis should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Iron deficiency anemia is a medical condition in which the body does not make enough healthy red blood cells to effectively carry oxygen throughout the body due to not having enough iron in the blood. Oral iron supplements are often used successfully to treat this condition. Those with compromised kidney function often have absorption problems and require an injectible form of iron. Ferumoxytol was developed for this purpose.

Most people who take ferumoxytol do not experience any negative side effects of the medication. Those who do report side effects generally classify them as mild, although severe complications are possible. The most frequently reported ferumoxytol side effect is irritation at the site of the injection. This may include redness, burning, or swelling and usually goes away within a few hours of receiving the injection.

Additional side effects of using ferumoxytol may include dizziness, easy bruising, or the development of a dry cough. Gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea may sometimes occur after taking this medication. A severe headache or the sudden onset of chest pain should be reported to a doctor right away. Swelling of the feet or hands may indicate a further decline in kidney function and should be evaluated by a physician.

In rare cases, a type of severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis may occur after taking ferumoxytol. This may occur even after successfully taking this medication in the past. Common signs of an allergic reaction include hives; itching; and swelling of the face, lips, or tongue. The throat may also begin to swell, causing breathing to become difficult or even impossible. An allergic reaction should be treated as a medical emergency, as death may occur within a matter of minutes if prompt treatment is not given.

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