Infed-Iron Dextran

Patient Education Quick Reference Guide Diablo Valley Oncology/Hematology Medical Group Phone Number: 925-677-5041

Iron Dextran Your treatment is called iron dextran (I-ern or I-run DEX-tran) or INFeD® (IN-fed). It is commonly used to treat iron deficiency (not enough iron in your body). Iron dextran is an iron supplement. It provides the iron needed to produce more blood cells in those who have chronic kidney disease and are receiving dialysis. Iron dextran also supplements iron that is not absorbed from food.

What Do I Need to Know Before Starting Treatment?

  • Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about any prescription or over-the-counter products you are taking, including dietary supplements, vitamins, herbal medicines and homeopathic remedies.
  • Use an effective birth control method while you are being treated. Iron dextran may cause harm to a fetus, so be sure to tell your healthcare provider right away if you or your partner become pregnant.
  • Avoid breastfeeding during treatment. Small amounts of iron dextran pass into breast milk.

What Do I Need to Know Before Starting Iron Dextran?

  • Iron dextran can cause a severe allergic reaction. This reaction usually occurs during the first few minutes of the treatment. Symptoms include fever, chills, shortness of breath, itchy skin or a rash. Your healthcare provider will watch for this side effect while you are receiving the medication. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms. In rare cases, this allergic reaction may cause death.
  • You may have a reaction up to a week after you receive iron dextran, especially if you receive a large dose. Tell your healthcare provider if you develop joint, back or muscle pain; fever or chills; headache; or nausea and vomiting after treatment.
  • If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may have an increase in joint pain after being treated with iron dextran.
  • In rare cases, iron dextran can cause cancer at the injection site when injected into the muscle.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have a history of severe liver disease, heart disease or an active kidney infection. If so, your healthcare provider will determine if it is safe for you to be treated with iron dextran.
  • There are currently no known drug interactions with iron dextran, but it may temporarily interfere with certain laboratory tests. Tell all your healthcare providers that you are being treated with iron dextran.

Who Should Not Take This Treatment

You should not take this treatment if:
  • You are allergic to iron dextran or any components of this drug.
  • You have any form of anemia that is not caused by iron deficiency.
  • You have been told that you have too much iron in your body.

How Is the Treatment Given?

  • Iron dextran is given by injection into a vein or a muscle. You may receive a small test dose of iron dextran to check your reaction before you get the full dose of the drug. Your full dose will be based on your weight and the amount of red blood cells your body needs to make. Your healthcare provider will determine how often you will receive iron dextran and your total number of treatments.
  • You may be given medicines to help prevent an allergic reaction before you receive your treatment. These medicines may be given either by mouth or by injection into a vein.

When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider?

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms:
  • Shaking chills or fever of 100.5 degrees F or higher
  • Rash, hives or itchy skin
  • Vomiting that is severe or that lasts several hours
  • Inability to eat or weight loss
  • Chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath or a severe cough
  • Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
  • Joint, back or muscle pain

What Are the Possible Side Effects?

All drugs can cause side effects, but every person reacts differently to each drug. The following chart lists the possible side effects that can occur with your treatment, how to recognize and minimize symptoms and possible treatments. The side effects are grouped by how often the side effect occurs: Common (occurs in more than 25 percent of patients), Less Common (occurs in 5 to 25 percent of patients) or Rare (occurs in less than 5 percent of patients).

Side Effect

How to Minimize Side Effect

Possible Treatments

Nausea/Vomiting (Rare. Symptoms are generally mild.)
  • Feeling queasy or sick to your stomach
  • Eat small, frequent meals and bland foods— such as bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.
  • Eat food cold or at room temperature so the smell of food will not bother you.
  • Avoid fried, spicy or fatty foods.
  • Eat and drink slowly.
  • Drink plenty of liquids during the day, but to avoid bloating, drink small amounts of liquid during meals.

  • You will be given medicine to help reduce nausea and vomiting.
Diarrhea (Rare. Symptoms are generally mild.)
  • Loose or watery stools several times a day
  • Abdominal cramping, gas and bloating
  • Eat small, frequent meals and bland foods— such as bananas, rice, applesauce and toast.
  • Avoid caffeine; alcohol; raw fruits and vegetables; raw eggs; undercooked meats; spicy, fatty and greasy foods; milk and dairy products; foods that cause gas, such as beans and other legumes; high fiber and high-fat foods; foods left un-refrigerated for more than two hours (one hour for egg dishes and cream or mayonnaise-based foods); bulk laxatives; and stool softeners.

  • Drink eight to ten glasses of clear liquids every day.
  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicine to help treat diarrhea.
Rash (Rare. Symptoms are generally mild to moderate, but can be severe.)
  • Usually mild and short-lived
  • Generally appears on the arms and trunk (occasionally on the face)
  • May be itchy
  • May appear as a flat, discolored area on the skin or as a small raised bump
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to heat.
  • Use creams or moisturizers regularly. Try wearing cotton gloves on your hands.
  • Avoid using perfume, cologne or aftershave since these products can be irritating to the skin.

  • Your healthcare provider may prescribe creams (mild steroids, antihistamines or antibiotics) to help treat the rash.
  • The rash may improve on its own without any treatment.

What Are the Other Possible Side Effects?

Below are additional side effects found with this treatment. It does not list all possible side effects. For more information, talk with your healthcare provider.  

Rare Side Effects

  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Swelling of the skin, possibly all over the body
  • Indigestion
  • Redness or swelling at the injection site
  • Skin flushing
  • Headache
  • Heart failure
  • Seizure