A close up of a bunch of red blood cells

How Effective is an Iron Infusion For Anemia? 

It can be very difficult to deal with daily life when having a condition like iron deficiency anemia because of how the condition affects your body. This can make it hard to go about your day, work, take care of children, or do all the other things a person must do in their day-to-day life. That’s why if you are diagnosed with this condition, it is important to search for the most effective treatment options so that you can get back on your feet and do the things you need to do.

One such treatment that is widely used to treat anemia is an iron IV infusion. However, not everyone knows what an iron infusion for anemia is. Here we are going to look at what iron-deficiency anemia is, what it can mean for a person who has it, how effective an iron IV infusion is at treating iron deficiency anemia, and what the timeline for recovery is.

Get an Iron Infusion

Intravenous iron therapy is a convenient and effective method to restore normal iron levels in your body. Our team of medical professionals screens your lab results and determines the sufficient amount of treatments to normalize your iron levels. Our medical team will come to your location in the area and administer the Iron infusion.

What is iron-deficiency anemia?

You may have heard of anemia or low iron before, but iron deficiency anemia is a specific condition that affects many people. Iron deficiency anemia is a lack of iron in the blood.

This lack of iron causes the red blood cells to not be able to create enough of a substance known as hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is one of the substances responsible for the transfer of oxygen to organs and tissues throughout the body. Iron deficiency can be caused by a number of things, most notably traumatic blood loss

A woman with long red hair standing in front of a white wall

A person who has sustained a heavy injury or has undergone surgery may need iron replacement therapy to correct anemia, as the blood loss will have lowered their total iron level. Additionally, those who receive regular transfusions of blood and people on dialysis may suffer from iron deficiency anemia.

Another cause of anemia is a diet that is low in iron. While not typically a direct cause of iron deficiency anemia, over time, a low iron diet can contribute to anemia, causing a person to need to ingest extra iron to correct the imbalance.

Additionally, there are people with a specific disorder which blocks their body from properly absorbing iron. This can result in severe and chronic anemia to the point that they need regular infusions of iron to keep them stable.

Lastly, iron levels can fluctuate during pregnancy as well, which can cause women who were not previously anemic to become so. This can be a dangerous condition during pregnancy, so it is always advised to see your doctor if you notice signs and get treated as soon as possible.

How is Anemia Diagnosed?

Anemia is generally diagnosed following a blood test. This test may check factors such as:

  • Complete blood count (CBC): A blood panel that measures the levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, and platelets present in your blood.
  • Ferritin: A blood protein that stores iron in your cells. This measurement helps your doctor understand how much iron is currently present in your body.
  • Hemoglobin (HB): A blood protein that helps transport oxygen throughout your body.
  • Transferrin saturation (TSAT): This test compares how much iron is currently in your bloodstream to the maximum amount that transferrin can transport.

In some cases, your doctor may order additional tests to help rule out other conditions.

What to Expect From the Diagnosis Process

In general, you can expect the diagnosis process to flow as follows:

  • Your doctor will evaluate your medical history, perform an examination, and ask you questions about your symptoms.
  • They will order lab tests for anemia and evaluate the results.
  • Depending on the findings, they may order additional lab tests and/or make a referral to a specialist to help pinpoint the exact cause of your symptoms.
  • Once all results are in, your doctor will make a final diagnosis and recommend treatment accordingly.

The diagnosis process may take several days or weeks depending on how many lab tests are needed and whether you need to visit any specialists.

How Iron Deficiency Testing Works

Testing for iron deficiency involves a blood test that you can obtain at a walk-in clinic, your doctor’s office, or with an in-home service that provides lab testing.

The testing process for anemia takes the form of a blood draw, during which a vial of blood is taken for analysis. The procedure is short and typically takes less than five minutes.

With an in-home service, a healthcare professional comes to your location to perform the blood draw and send the sample off to a lab for analysis. Once the results have returned, your care team will contact you to discuss the findings and recommend next steps.

guy in lab doing some tests

In-home testing saves you time and helps you get the information you need to make informed decisions about your health.

Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia

Because anemia affects how oxygen is delivered to various parts of the body, one of the primary symptoms of anemia is difficulty breathing, even when not heavily active. This shortness of breath can occur even last when resting and can result in dizziness and fainting spells if it gets worse. This is often accompanied by chronic fatigue and tiredness, muscle and limb weakness, headaches, chest pain, fast heartbeat, and even sensitivity to heat and cold.

While many of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions as well, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms, as it could be a sign of low iron that needs to be treated immediately.

What is the Iron Infusion Symptoms Recovery Time?

It is common to experience some side effects, these can include muscle and joint pain and changes in taste, flushing or headaches. Generally, these symptoms are temporary and subside in a few days.

How iron infusions work to treat anemia

An iron infusion that is done via IV works to treat iron deficiency anemia by adding iron directly into the bloodstream.

This allows the body to process and absorb the iron much more quickly than via other methods and can dramatically increase the active iron levels in the blood faster than by eating iron-rich foods or taking supplements alone. This IV infusion typically takes a couple of hours to infuse but is the most effective means for delivering iron into the body.

This treatment is highly recommended for anyone with iron deficiency anemia who needs to recover quickly and is especially effective for those that have recurring issues with anemia, such as those on medications that block iron absorption, those undergoing treatments that lower their iron level, and anyone going through surgery or who may have suffered blood loss.

red cell blood

Dialysis patients and those who need regular blood transfusions can benefit greatly from routine iron infusions to prevent iron deficiency anemia due to the treatments they receive.

How do iron infusions compare to supplements?

Most folks may know that there are two types of supplements, those that the body absorbs and stores in fat cells and those that are flushed out with urine. It is possible to get iron supplements or multivitamins that contain iron to help improve iron levels, but unfortunately, thanks to the way that the body absorbs nutrients from these sources, it is impossible to get many benefits from them, especially for someone with anemia .

This is because the body will only absorb so much iron before the supplement passes through the system. While supplements are great along with an iron-rich diet to keep your iron levels high, they are not as effective at treating a deficiency once it happens.

Comparing Iron Infusions with Blood Transfusions

Blood transfusions are another way your doctor may recommend increasing your blood iron levels. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these procedures.

Iron Infusion vs Blood Transfusion

As mentioned, an iron infusion involves administering a combination of saline solution and iron into your body.

A blood transfusion is similar to an iron infusion in that it utilizes an IV line to deliver components directly into the bloodstream. Blood transfusions typically take several hours to administer, much like iron infusions, and are outpatient procedures typically performed at a clinic or hospital.

Unlike iron infusions, however, blood transfusions deliver blood or certain components of blood, such as platelets, plasma, or red blood cells, or cryoprecipitate (a blood clot aid) directly into your body. The blood used in your procedure may come from a blood bank, a friend or family member with a matching blood type, or even yourself if you arrange to donate blood prior to a scheduled procedure.

Blood transfusions can be used to help treat anemia, much like an iron infusion. However, they can also be used to restore normal blood levels following injury or surgery, or for medical conditions such as anemia, kidney disease, certain cancers, sickle cell disease, and others.

How long does it take for iron infusion to work?

As we discussed, the effectiveness of Iron Infusion IV is the best because it is the fastest and most effective way to deliver iron into the body. The body’s iron levels will go up almost immediately after the infusion, but because it takes time for the body to distribute the iron to the cells and for everything to start functioning properly again, it can take up to two weeks before patients start to feel noticeable results.

This is why infusions are the best choice; the body is able to absorb enough iron from the infusion to reach optimal iron levels much more quickly than a simple diet change or by taking supplements, which may take months before a person notices any changes if they notice any at all.

How quickly does iv iron increase hemoglobin?

IV iron can elevate hemoglobin levels in a short period, ranging from a few days to weeks, contingent on the person’s iron levels and the root cause of anemia. An evident rise in hemoglobin levels typically occurs 2 to 4 weeks after initiating intravenous iron treatment.

How much does iv iron increase hemoglobin?

The rise in hemoglobin levels following intravenous iron treatment may differ based on the individual’s iron deficit and the amount of iron given. Hemoglobin levels typically rise by 1 to 2 grams per deciliter (g/dL) within 2 to 4 weeks post-treatment. The precise increment may fluctuate depending on the patient’s state and reaction to therapy.

The Effectiveness of Iron Infusions for Anemia

Iron infusions can be an effective way to correct iron-deficiency anemia. Let’s take a closer look at the current literature about the effectiveness of this treatment.

Scientific Studies Supporting the Effectiveness of Iron Infusions

Multiple studies have found that iron infusions are safe and effective at increasing low iron levels.1 They have also been found effective at correcting several iron-deficient conditions, including pregnancy or heavy uterine bleeding, bariatric surgery, inflammatory bowel disease, and others.

Iron Infusion Reviews and Case Studies

In a recent case series, intravenous iron successfully helped treat patients with iron deficiency anemia in a hospice setting.

Data from 1000 iron infusions demonstrated that intravenous administration were both safe and effective at restoring low iron levels resulting from iron deficiency anemia. 80% of patients in this study reported good or excellent responses to treatment, with 60% requiring multiple infusions.

The results of these studies suggest that, for most people, iron infusions offer a convenient and effective treatment for low iron levels. Speak with your doctor if you think you have iron deficiency anemia.

patient consulting with a doctor

They can perform lab tests, make a diagnosis, and prescribe a treatment plan that can help you feel your best.

At-Home Iron Infusion With Drip Hydration

Iron IV therapy is an efficient and convenient way to increase your iron levels quickly and effectively. With Drip Hydration's at-home treatment option, our team will come to your location to administer the IV, whether that be your home or office. You will be able to relax and carry on with your daily activities, while we take care of the rest.

Contact Drip Hydration today and schedule your appointment, our experienced team is here to help you achieve optimal iron levels and improve your overall health.

Iron IV  Infusion - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Iron infusion?

Iron IV Infusion is a therapy where an enriched saline bag with iron and other vitamins is intravenously administered.

Why would a patient need an iron infusion?

Patients typically need an iron infusion to correct low blood iron levels, although infusions may also be given in advance of a medical procedure. There are many potential reasons a patient might have low blood iron, including illness, certain medical conditions, side effects from other treatments, inability to absorb adequate iron from diet or supplements, and more.

What happens during an iron infusion?

A nurse will arrive at your location at your appointment time with the necessary equipment for your infusion. They will then administer a test dose via a needle and catheter to ensure that you do not have an allergic reaction to the ingredients in the infusion.

After your test dose, your infusion will begin. This process typically takes several hours. Following your infusion, you can resume activities as normal unless otherwise instructed.

How to prepare for an iron infusion

The most significant preparation required for an iron infusion is to ensure you set aside enough time for treatment. Unlike some procedures, there is no need to fast prior to this procedure.

  • Iron infusions may take 3 or 4 hours, so bring a book, a game, music or podcasts, a computer, or sit near your TV so you can stay occupied during treatment.
  • Eat breakfast, stay hydrated, and take your medication as normal unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may also want to consider having a blanket on hand if you get cold easily.


[1] Cançado RD. - Efficacy and safety of intravenous iron sucrose in treating adults with iron deficiency anemia.;