Venofer-Iron Sucrose

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

Description

Your treatment is called iron sucrose (I-ern or I-run SU-kros) or Venofer® (VE-no-fur). It is commonly used to treat anemia (low red blood cells) caused by iron deficiency (not enough iron in your body). Iron sucrose is an iron supplement that provides the iron needed to produce more blood in those who have chronic kidney disease or those who are on dialysis.

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. Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant. There is currently no evidence that iron sucrose can cause harm to a fetus, but you should not take this medication during pregnancy unless it is necessary. Tell your healthcare provider if you are nursing. It is not known if iron sucrose passes into breast milk. You may want to avoid breastfeeding during treatment with iron sucrose, and ask your healthcare provider when or if it is safe for you to begin breastfeeding again.

What Do I Need to Know Before Starting Iron Sucrose?

Iron sucrose can cause a severe allergic reaction. 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 be life threatening. Iron sucrose can cause low blood pressure. This is common for those who are on hemodialysis. In rare cases, this side effect can occur in those who are on peritoneal dialysis or those who are not on dialysis. Your healthcare provider will monitor your blood pressure while the medication is being injected. Tell your healthcare provider if you feel lightheaded. There are currently no known drug interactions with iron sucrose. You should not take this treatment if:
  • You are allergic to iron sucrose 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 sucrose is given by injection into a vein. The dose of iron sucrose varies depending on the cause of your iron deficiency. Your healthcare provider will determine how often you receive iron sucrose and your total number of treatments.

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 (Less Common)
  • 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 (Less Common)
  • 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.
Constipation (Rare)
  • No bowel movement for one to two days
  • Small, hard, dry stools
  • Bloating, gas, cramps and pain
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen your bowels.
  • Drink warm or hot liquids if you do not have mouth sores.
  • Your healthcare provider may suggest eating foods that are high in fiber, such as bran, vegetables, whole wheat breads and fruit.
  • Have prunes or prune juice, which act like laxatives.
  • Exercise can help loosen bowels.
  • Your healthcare provider may recommend a stool softener.
Rash (Rare)
  • 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.
Fluid Retention (Less common in patients not on dialysis. Rare in patients on dialysis.)
  • Swelling around the eyes, lower legs, ankles, feet or abdominal area
  • Slight weight gain
  • Check your weight regularly.
  • Try to avoid eating salty foods, as this can cause fluid retention.
  • You may be given a diuretic (water pill) to reduce the amount of fluid in your body.
 

What Are the Other Possible Side Effects?

The chart below lists additional side effects found with this treatment. It does not list all possible side effects. For more information, talk with your healthcare provider.
Common Side Effects in Hemodialysis Patients Less Common Side Effects in Hemodialysis Patients Rare Side Effects in Hemodialysis Patients
  • Muscle cramps
  • Low blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Problems with dialysis graft
  • Dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Joint, back or abdominal pain
  • Taste changes
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Fever
  • Infection
  • Increased blood sugar
  • Shortness of breath or cough
  • Itching
  • Heart murmur
Less Common Side Effects in Peritoneal Dialysis Patients Rare Side Effects in Peritoneal Dialysis Patients
  • Swelling of hands or feet
  • Infection or sore throat
  • High blood pressure
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Blood in the stool
  • Itching
  • Low blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Low blood sugar
  • Joint, back, muscle, abdominal, foot or hand pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath or cough
  • Nose congestion
Less Common Side Effects in Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Not on Dialysis Rare Side Effects in Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Not on Dialysis
  • Taste changes
  • Swelling of hands or feet
  • Dizziness
  • High blood pressure
 
  • Fatigue
  • Burning or pain at injection site
  • Fever
  • Infection
  • Heart murmur
  • Blood in the stool
  • Gout
  • Blood sugar changes
  • Chest pain
  • Joint, back, muscle, abdominal, foot or hand pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath or cough
  • Runny or congested nose
  • Itching
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weakness