Iron infusion is a procedure by which iron is delivered into your body intravenously, which means into a vein through a needle. This method of administration of medicines or supplements is also known as an intravenous infusion (IV).
Iron infusions are usually prescribed by doctors to treat iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency anemia is usually treated with dietary changes and iron supplements that you take in pill form. In some cases, however, doctors may recommend iron infusions instead.
How Much Does an Iron Infusion Cost?
The iron infusion price depends on some factors such as:
Testing – In order for doctors or nurse practitioners at a hospital to administer this therapy safely, they use screening tests before starting IVIg treatments. It may result in a price increase.
The number of infusions – The cost of intravenous iron therapy is often dependent on the number of IV infusions performed, which can be difficult to predict in some cases. To have an idea about how much it would cost, plan on three rounds for an elevated ferritin level and increased hemoglobin production. However, this may vary depending upon your condition or reaction towards treatment.
Facility fees – You can choose to have an iron infusion done in a hospital or in the office of a medical professional. Expect to pay a higher price in a hospital due to using their services and facilities.
Depending on the doctor’s office and the geographical location, expect to pay anywhere between $320 and $620 per iron infusion session done at a treatment center or at a doctor’s office.
Some members of the ObesityHelp.com forum said that they had to pay $210 to $620 per one iron infusion.
In most cases, the treatments are done in cycles. For instance, you may need only one infusion per week for three weeks in order to maintain your iron level in good parameters for one year and a half. According to our estimates, the cost of three sessions of iron infusion will be anywhere between $950 and $1,900 and will have to be paid every 18 months.
Iron infusion details
An iron infusion usually takes place in a hospital or hemodialysis center. A doctor or other healthcare provider, such as a nurse, will use a needle to insert a small tube into a vein. This small tube is known as a catheter. It is usually placed in a vein in the arm or hand. The healthcare provider will then remove the needle, leaving the catheter in the vein.
The catheter is attached to a long tube, which is connected to an IV iron bag. The iron is diluted with saline. This solution is either pumped into a vein or uses gravity to slowly drip into the vein.
You may feel a slight pinch in the skin where the IV needle is inserted. There may also be pressure at the insertion site during the procedure.
An iron infusion can take up to 3 to 4 hours. You should expect to stay seated for this time. In some cases, the infusion may take a little longer, depending on the level of treatment your doctor considers necessary. The slow rate of infusion helps prevent complications.
After the infusion, you can return to normal activities immediately. Most people can drive home on their own. You may even return to work after the infusion if you feel well.
What are the extra costs?
The doctor performing the procedure will first ask you to undergo a series of tests to make sure you have no side effects to iron. Plan on spending some hundreds of dollars for these tests in case you don’t have insurance coverage.
There are patients who may have allergic reactions and pain in the first two days after the iron infusion therapy. These people will receive medication with NSAIDs like naproxen and ibuprofen.
Important things to consider
Patients who cannot absorb iron in the gastrointestinal tract or who do not tolerate iron orally may need an iron infusion. The infusion is made through an intravenous line and provides high doses of iron in various preparations.
This procedure provides more iron than a transfusion, but it comes with other risks. Severe side effects of an iron infusion include itching, hives, and joint and muscle pain; an allergic reaction to iron can also occur, notes the American Society of Hematology.
A rare but serious complication of iron infusions is iron toxicity. Symptoms of iron toxicity can occur quickly, which can cause anaphylactic shock. Or they may appear slowly over time. Tests performed before therapy and a slow infusion rate are both done to prevent this complication.
The iron need of a pregnant woman increases as the fetus develops. As the fetus absorbs iron from her body, the mother’s iron levels may decrease, leading to anemia. For this reason, doctors sometimes recommend iron infusions for pregnant women.
Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for your first iron infusion treatment. Some basic things you can do to prepare for the infusion day include:
- eat breakfast and lunch, as there is no need to fast for an iron infusion;
- take regular medications
- be prepared to have a small intravenous drip in your arm or hand;
- get informed about how to ask for help during the infusion if you have an adverse reaction.
The physical benefits of an iron infusion include increased energy and easier breathing. You should start to feel these benefits a few weeks after the final infusion treatment.
Tips for comfort during the infusion
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes.
- Have a bottle of drinking water with you.
- Listen to music.
- Watch a movie or TV show on a tablet or smartphone.
- Read a book or magazine.
Iron infusion vs. iron injection
Iron infusions involve the administration of a dose of iron through an IV drip vein. Iron injections involve injecting iron into a muscle with a needle. The injection is usually given in the buttocks. Iron infusions can take up to a few hours, while iron injections are administered immediately in a full dose.
Iron infusions tend to be less painful than iron injections. Injections may also cause intramuscular bleeding and orange discoloration. Because of these possible complications, doctors often favor iron infusions instead as opposed to iron injections as a treatment for iron deficiency anemia.
How can I save money?
The cost of the entire procedure may be reduced for patients who have insurance that covers iron infusion. Most insurance companies support the costs and the patient will have to pay only around 20% of the estimates mentioned above. However, you must respect certain conditions in order to get the advantage of this coverage.
Another way you can save money is to pay the entire bill at once. There are offices that offer cash discounts.