Are doctors resistant to iron infusions?

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munchkin81
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 73
   Posted 10/1/2008 7:03 PM (GMT -7)   
I've gotten to the point where I can't take it anymore.  I've been anemic for at least 4 years.  Just couldn't get my levels up.  My GI doesn't want me taking iron pills anymore until I get my digestive system straightened out.  I have major problems with C.  My last blood test my ferritin was 4, hemoglobin 10.1, iron serum 17, binding capacity 649, and % saturation 2.6.  I want to ask about getting an infusion because I'm just exhausted,my hair is falling out, I get headaches...  Do you think they would resistant to it?  They haven't answered my phone calls in over a month and I'm getting so fed up. 
Munchkin 81
27 year old female.  DX June 2007.
abscess Nov. 2006 - drain and surgery
Resection 11/07
Resection 4/08
on Remicade
 


pattytx
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 139
   Posted 10/1/2008 8:08 PM (GMT -7)   

My g.i. referred me to a hematologist when I was having trouble tolerating oral iron.  Over a period of several years, I saw 3 different ones and they all agreed that infusions were the way to go.  They always monitored my ferretin and when it was low, they scheduled an infusion.  They always gave me the boost I needed.

I have gone @ 1 1/2 years now without an infusion after having a second resection (and two units of blood) wink

I hope you feel better soon!  Anemia is the pits!


ivy6
Elite Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 10/1/2008 8:38 PM (GMT -7)   
The problem may be that iron infusions aren't as straightforward as they sound.

When I had mine, they had to assign one of the senior nurses to monitor me, and they had to check my vital signs every 5, 10, 15 minutes. Apparently (they said) some infusions are trickier and riskier than others, and this is one of those infusions that needs some expertise and care to deliver.

Still, if you're anaemic, can't cope with tablets and obviously need some IV help, then you shouldn't be denied that help, just to save staff costs & time.

Hmm. If they refuse again, could you just ask, point blank, why they keep saying no? You never know; there might be a good reason...

This must be very frustrating for you. Hang in there,

ivy.
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.


Aimee =)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2004
Total Posts : 1020
   Posted 10/1/2008 9:06 PM (GMT -7)   
I have not found mine to be. I LOVE iron infusions - what a Godsend they are for me.

My GI sent my rear down the street to a hematologist when he noticed the iron was going down. I didn't have to ask - he made the appt and sent me. I had the infusion there in the infusion center where they administer chemo.

Honestly, if a doc wasn't calling me back after a week I would find a new one - a month is RIDICULOUS when you're dealing with a chronic disease.

nawlinscate
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 10/1/2008 11:11 PM (GMT -7)   
There's no valid reason for you to be suffering like this--you either need a new doctor, or you need to educate the one you have.

Yes, some doctors are resistant to iron infusions. If you get the entire necessary dose in one infusion, you run some risk of developing anaphylactic shock. If you don't, the infusion is a breeze; if you do, it's a scary situation for you and your doctor. The infusion has to be done in a hospital, in case this problem develops.

My gastro doctor sent me to a hematologist/oncologist, who was very hesitant about having me take my iron by infusion. What she finally decided to do was to break the big dose into 16 smaller doses, administered once a week for 16 weeks. This minimized the risk of complications and shock, and it allowed me to have the IVs either in the local hospital's oncology clinic or at her office. In both cases, I was surrounded by inspiringly brave and funny cancer patients, and it turned out to be an important experience--made me remember that there are plenty of people a lot sicker than I am! Each IV took about 90 minutes, during which I read, talked to people, or watched TV. I had no side effects at all.

Like you, I couldn't take oral iron, which aggravated my Crohn's. My doctor initially recommended weekly iron injections, but I refused after I saw photos of the way they can make your butt and upper thigh brown and lumpy, pretty much permanently (since you have to keep taking the shots forever). The infusions were a great solution for me. If I had to have them again, I wouldn't be thrilled (I've had enough IVs to last me the rest of my life!), but I wouldn't be upset, either.
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