Sodium Ferric Gluconate Complex helps to prevent and resolve anemia caused by iron deficiency, particularly in patients undergoing dialysis with supplemental epoetin therapy. These treatments deplete iron levels as a result of blood loss or excessive use of iron reserves. To resolve, doctors prescribe Sodium Ferric Gluconate Complex.
Ferrlecit is available by prescription only and via an intravenous route of application – completed by a nurse in most cases within a clinical or hospital setting. When prescribed, healthcare specialists run a number of tests to determine if the treatment is working as it should.
We rely on iron to maintain a healthy supply of red blood cells, which are responsible for transporting oxygen to vital organs throughout the body, including the liver, bone marrow, and spleen. The process of iron regeneration is called hemoglobin synthesis.
Most healthy adults, on average, store 2-4 grams of iron, according to the FDA. In healthy adults, the iron levels diminish slowly over time at a rate of 0.03% per day. During the course of a dialysis treatment with epoetin therapy, the reserves are depleted expeditiously.
Every patient is different, and as a result, the treatment amounts vary depending on blood tests results taken before and after treatments with Sodium Ferric Gluconate Complex.
Some treatments are single-dose only while others are scheduled for each session of dialysis, depending on the patient’s unique medical needs.
As with all medicines, Ferrlecit may cause unwanted side effects, some more serious than others. In most cases, however, adverse side effects subside with time and the most commonly reported include:
If these or any other symptoms are noticeable, inform your medical provider. An altered dose may be required to ensure the medicine is better tolerated.
As can be seen, Ferrlecit is potent enough to trigger a wide range of adverse side effects. Patients should, therefore, be informed of all the possible side effects of the replacement therapy. In particular, medical practitioners should educate patients on when it’s absolutely necessary to seek medical help right away.
This medicine could potentially cause sudden drops in blood pressure. Hypotension or low blood pressure comes with the following symptoms:
When hypotension occurs, the symptoms generally dissipate over the course of a few hours. It is otherwise known as transient vs. persistent hypotension; and in these cases, the patient should be monitored closely until the symptoms subside.
Ferrlecit is administered into the vein in a hospital setting by a trained and qualified medical worker. The dosage amounts vary according to a patient’s age, weight, medical history, and other factors.
The following table provides approximate amounts of the medicine that are generally prescribed by a healthcare professional:
Medical workers on duty should verify the individualized dosage before mixing and administering this medicine.
The dosage is moreover administered during the course of dialysis treatments. In most cases, the length of treatment is via a slow-drip method lasting up to one hour.
Original vials of Ferrlecit are intended for single use only and are dispensed with 62.5 mg of elemental iron or 5 ML under the U.S. trade name Ferrlecit .
The max dose for each treatment session in both children and adults should not exceed 125 mg of elemental iron.
Some key notes about administering Ferrlecit include:
Some patients require reoccurring treatments with Sodium Ferric Gluconate Complex. In these events, the recommended dose for adults is:
To measure iron levels accumulated by the patient, lab work is done before and after treatment. Follow-up checks may be necessary to determine this as the treatment provides residual benefits for months at a time – in most cases.
Some medicines should not be used with Ferrlecit unless completely necessary. In these circumstances, the dose is typically adjusted or reduced. The most widely reported negative drug interactions with Ferrlecit are:
Important Note for Patients: Inform your doctor of any prescriptions you may be taking, not excluding herbal supplements or vitamins, for example.
Ferrlecit should not be taken with foods or substances that contain Phytic Acid, as contraindications have been found.
Ferrlecit comes with a number of warnings, including:
Ferrlecit could trigger a serious allergic reaction or anaphylaxis shock. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have had any past allergies. Medical workers on duty, too, will check patients’ progress and look for warning signs of anaphylaxis shock.
Some telltale signs of anaphylaxis shock include when patients:
Special Note for Medical Workers: If any of these symptoms occur, the treatment should be immediately stopped and appropriate measures must be taken to treat anaphylaxis shock.
Special Note for Patients: Anaphylaxis shock is a serious and potentially fatal condition that requires immediate medical intervention. Alert your medical provider if you experience any of the above symptoms. A call button is usually on hand during dialysis treatment for alerting medical workers on duty.
As this treatment requires injecting a needle into the vein and setting up an IV infusion bag, it is essential for medical staff to follow all safety protocols outlined by the healthcare facility. Some include:
Ferrlecit labels explicitly state that patients should be closely monitored for up to a half of an hour following treatment to determine if any hypersensitivities to the treatment happen.
Ferrlecit is only intended for anemia caused by iron deficiency. It is not suggested for other types of anemias, which could benefit from more appropriate treatments.
Ferrlecit is not intended for children who are under the age of 6. In particular, infants under the age of 6 months old may be adversely affected by the benzyl alcohol contents. This is known to cause gasping syndrome in minors.
Ferrlecit should only be prescribed when there is an urgent need to do so and no other safer alternatives are established. This is because the medicine contains benzyl alcohol, which could affect fetuses. Medical studies moreover show that this medicine crosses the placental barrier. The main concern to neonates is the risk of gasping syndrome – one of the primary reasons it is not recommended for children under the age of 6 years old.
Senior patients with certain underlying medical conditions may require a reduced dose of Ferrlecit to prevent the condition from worsening. Examples include:
Before commencing this medicine, disclose any underlying health conditions to your medical provider.
Senior patients with underlying medical conditions aren’t the only ones who could experience negative symptoms with the use of Sodium Ferric Gluconate Complex. Individuals who are diagnosed with iron overload or low blood pressure, for example, should be carefully monitored when provided with Sodium Ferric Gluconate Complex.
To prevent adverse side effects, all patients should be screened for underlying conditions that may require changes in dosage. In particular, patients with a demonstrated history of sensitivities or iron overload generally required an altered amount of the medicine.
Iron overload happens when the body stores too much of the element, resulting in toxicity. This condition is otherwise known as iatrogenic hemosiderosis and some patients are more susceptible to it than others.
The vials containing Ferrlecit should always be stored in controlled room temperatures. Read the package insert clearly to ensure the quality of the medicine is preserved.
The average room temperature recommended for storage is 20 – 25°C (68 – 77°F).
When patients with kidney disease undergo dialysis coupled with epoetin therapy, one of the side effects is iron shortage. A quick way to replace lost iron is with IV infusions of Ferrlecit or Ferrlecit.
Ferrlecit is generally well-tolerated by pediatric, adult, and senior patients. However, it is not recommended for use in infants and children under 6.
As is the case with most medicines, patients should be carefully monitored for any adverse side effects that could occur following treatment. In particular, some of the warning signs to watch for include drops in blood pressure (hypotension) or hypersensitivities. In these events, medical intervention is usually required.
In the end, this therapy replenishes lost iron and aids in the proper functioning of hemoglobin, which is necessary for supplying oxygen to important organs throughout the body.