Your body is an incredibly delicate choir of vitamins, minerals, hormones, and more. They all harmonize together to keep you healthy. When a singer is missing, though, it can throw off the whole choir. That’s the case with an iron deficiency. Fortunately, a Monoferric infusion may help. Explore the innovative treatment in this thorough guide.
Table of Contents
What Is Iron and What Does It Do?
Iron is a mineral that the body needs for growth and development. Your body uses iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells. Hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Your body also uses iron to produce myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. Your body needs iron to make some hormones, as well. Iron is found naturally in many foods and is added to some fortified food products.
You can get iron by eating a variety of foods, including:
- Lean meat, seafood, and poultry
- Iron-fortified breakfast cereals and bread
- White beans, lentils, spinach, broccoli, kidney beans, and peas
- Nuts and some dried fruits like raisins
The amount of iron you need each day depends on your age, your sex, and whether you consume a mostly plant-based diet.
Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron deficiency anemia is a blood condition that develops when your body’s stores of iron drop too low to support normal red blood cell (RBC) production. There are many reasons this can happen.
- Too little dietary iron
- Limited iron absorption
- Loss of iron in the urine
Symptoms of Iron Deficiency
In many cases, a person with iron deficiency has no symptoms or overlooks their symptoms. Being observant of your health can let you know when there might be a problem. In the case of iron deficiency, symptoms can include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor academic/work performance
- Muscle weakness
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you suspect you may have iron deficiency, your next stop is your physician. They’ll test your hemoglobin levels and ferritin levels to make a diagnosis. The treatment for an iron deficiency depends on its severity. For mild iron deficiency anemia, simply taking in more dietary iron can help. If you have a moderate deficiency, your doctor will likely give you supplementary iron. This can be an oral supplement or an intravenous iron replacement.
Severe cases usually warrant an intravenous iron infusion and sometimes a blood transfusion. Your doctor will also try to find and treat the cause of your iron deficiency anemia.
What Is A Monoferric Infusion?
Monoferric is a prescription iron supplement made by Pfizer. Monoferric contains iron bound to a carbohydrate (derisomaltose). It works by releasing iron into the bloodstream in a slow and controlled manner. When iron is released, it binds to the hormone transferrin. This takes it to the bone marrow for use in hemoglobin production.
Monoferric is the only intravenous iron preparation approved to infuse up to 1,000 mg of iron in 20 minutes for the treatment of iron deficiency anemia in adults.
Benefits of A Monoferric Infusion
The results of a Monoferric infusion will depend on your symptoms. In one 2019 survey by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, patients experienced:
- Increased energy levels
- More ability to engage in activities and get back to normal life
- Enhanced performance in school or at work
- Reduced fatigue
- Enhanced quality of life
As with any medical treatment, the results vary from patient to patient. For many who have iron deficiency anemia, however, Monoferric infusions could be the answer they need.
Monoferric Infusion vs. Iron Injection vs. Oral Supplementation
As we mentioned, there are several ways to supplement your iron besides an infusion. Why do doctors choose one over the other? For starters, let’s compare Monoferric infusions to iron injections. Injections are given into a muscle, usually in the buttocks. While both infusions and injections are effective, infusions are less painful. Injections are also more likely to cause site irritation and discolouration.
On the other hand, infusions do take more time than injections. Oral iron supplements are a possibility as well. Some people can’t take iron supplements, though. These supplements can be harsh on your digestive system, so people with certain digestive conditions shouldn’t use them. Iron supplements also don’t allow your body to absorb and use as much iron as an infusion. Monoferric infusions allow for quicker results.
When Would A Monoferric Infusion Be Recommended?
Monoferric infusions are prescribed on a case-by-case basis. There are many circumstances when it’s a common option to treat iron deficiency anemia.
In mothers who become anemic after giving birth, a Monoferric infusion can help restore their iron levels. These infusions aren’t given to pregnant women with iron deficiency anemia, however, due to risks to the fetus.
Abnormal or Heavy Uterine Bleeding
In people who have heavy periods or other types of abnormal uterine bleeding, iron deficiency anemia is a common complication. Monoferric infusions can be an efficient way to treat this issue.
Non-Dialysis Dependent Chronic Kidney Disease
In people with kidney disease, the kidneys don’t make enough of a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO). Low EPO levels contribute to anemia, making anemia a common issue in kidney patients. In some cases, a Monoferric infusion can help.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Anemia is common in people with inflammatory bowel disease. Their illness limits the dietary iron they absorb. Intravenous Monoferric infusions are often a solution.
Colon cancer often leads to undetected blood loss. This can result in anemia, but Monoferric infusions can help restore proper iron levels.
Advantages and Disadvantages of A Monoferric Infusion
If you have iron deficiency anemia, a Monoferric infusion may or may not be the right treatment plan for you. Consider these key pros and cons. Advantages of a Monoferric infusion include:
- Quick, one-time infusion for most, although if you weigh over 70 kg, you may receive two doses seven days apart
- Fast results and symptom relief
- Strong absorption for people who absorb minimal dietary iron
There are disadvantages to consider as well, though. These can include:
- Cost: Typically, the drug cost varies between $400 and 500 for a one-time dose of Monoferric. You also pay an IV infusion fee at the clinic. SRx offers a fixed rate of $125 CAD for Monoferric infusions nationwide. This fee is not covered under MSP.
- Requires a prescription and is only appropriate under specific circumstances
Who Is A Good Candidate for A Monoferric Infusion?
Could a Monoferric infusion be the best way to treat your iron deficiency anemia? While your doctor needs to make the determination, consider whether you fit these criteria:
- Over 18 years of age
- Not pregnant
- Lab-confirmed iron deficiency anemia
- Can’t tolerate or don’t respond to oral supplements
- No known hypersensitivity to iron
- No end-stage liver cirrhosis
- No active viral or bacterial infections
- No hemochromatosis (a condition where your body stores too much iron)
- No hemolytic anemia (a condition where red blood cells are broken down faster than they are made)
If you fit all these criteria, schedule a physician appointment to discuss whether this infusion may be able to help you.
A Guide to the Monoferric Infusion Process
What can you expect during a Monoferric infusion? The process follows a few simple steps.
Initial Consultation and Preparation
To start, you’ll speak with the provider about your condition, your symptoms, and your medical history. This allows them to customize your dosage and procedure.
The Monoferric Infusion Procedure
Once your provider has customized and prepared the ideal dosage for you, they will place your IV. You can relax comfortably during your infusion. There are two ways to administer intravenous Monoferric: a drip infusion or a bolus injection. A drip infusion delivers the medication to you slowly and at a steady rate. A bolus injection delivers the full dosage in a shorter time. Your provider can determine the best option for your needs.
A typical infusion takes about 20 minutes. Your provider will then ask you to stay for another 30 minutes so they can monitor you for side effects and reactions.
After your infusion, your provider will give you aftercare instructions that are customized to your condition and your treatment. Be sure to follow those instructions closely. Your provider or your primary physician may request a follow-up appointment with you to check your progress.
Risks and Possible Complications of A Monoferric Infusion
There’s always a risk of potential complications and side effects from any medical procedure. A Monoferric infusion is no exception. While there are many safeguards in place to limit your risks, the risks can include:
- Hypersensitivity reaction (can occur within minutes or days of the infusion)
- Flushing, warm sensation on the face and chest
- Low blood pressure if the infusion is given too fast
- Iron overload
- Long-term brown discolouration of the puncture site if leakage occurs
- Flu-like symptoms
As part of your aftercare instructions, your provider will give you more information about symptoms to look for and what to do if they occur.
The SRx Infusion Clinic Is Ready to Serve You
If you believe you may be a candidate for a Monoferric infusion, we’re happy to help. Schedule an appointment at an infusion clinic near you to discuss whether this treatment is right for you.