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What Is Iron Sucrose?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Iron sucrose is an injectible medication that is designed to increase iron levels in the blood of those who have certain forms of anemia or kidney disease. These shots are typically administered at a doctor's office and are not approved for self-injection by the patient. Possible side effects of iron sucrose include pain or swelling at the injection site, dizziness, or headaches. Digestive problems such as nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting may also occur after receiving an injection containing this medication. A doctor should be consulted with any questions or concerns about the use of iron sucrose in an individual situation.

If routine blood tests detect lower than normal levels of iron in the blood, dietary changes and oral iron supplements are usually recommended. If the iron levels remain low after making these changes, iron sucrose injections may be prescribed by the supervising physician. Those with chronic kidney disease may benefit from the use of this medication as well, especially patients who are receiving dialysis treatments.

Most patients do not experience any significant side effects due to the use of iron sucrose, although mild to moderate skin irritation at the site of the injection may sometimes occur. This symptoms usually disappears within a few hours following the administration of the drug. If severe pain or swelling develops or if the skin begins to peel or blister, a doctor should be notified so the symptoms can be evaluated further.

Headaches, dizziness, and mild stomach upset are relatively common side effects of iron sucrose and are not typically bothersome enough to be of any real concern. A sudden or severe headache should be reported to a doctor in order to rule out the development of complications such as an aneurysm. Extreme dizziness that leads to fainting should be evaluated further as well. Intense abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, or vomit that resembles the appearance of coffee grounds may be indicators of serious complications and should be reported to a member of the medical staff right away.

While allergic reactions to iron sucrose are relatively unheard of, some people may be allergic to other ingredients used in the injection. Symptoms such as facial swelling, chest pain, or difficulty breathing may be signs of a severe type of allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Emergency medical care is required for this type of reaction, as death is possible within a matter of minutes due to airway constriction and lack of oxygen.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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