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Sodium ferric gluconate (Ferrlecit®)

About This Drug

Sodium ferric gluconate is used to treat anemia (low red blood cells) caused by low iron levels. It is given in the vein (IV). 

Possible Side Effects 

  • Nausea and vomiting (throwing up)
  • Diarrhea (loose bowel movements)
  • Injection site reaction - you may get a rash, swelling or bruising or your skin may get red, warm, itchy or painful at the site of your infusion or injection. Your skin may sometimes become brown at the injection site.
  • Cramps and leg cramps
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Pain in your chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • High blood pressure

Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 10% or greater of patients treated with sodium ferric gluconate. Not all possible side effects are included above. 

Warnings and Precautions

  • Allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis are rare but may happen in some patients and can be life-threatening. Signs of allergic reaction to this drug may be swelling of the face, feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling, trouble breathing, rash, itching, fever, chills, feeling dizzy, and/or feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way. If this happens, do not take another dose of this drug. You should get urgent medical treatment.
  • Severe low blood pressure
  • Iron overload (too much iron in your body)

Treating Side Effects

  • Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
  • If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack of water in the body from losing too much fluid). 
  • If you have diarrhea, eat low-fiber foods that are high in protein and calories and avoid foods that can irritate your digestive tracts or lead to cramping.
  • Ask your nurse or doctor about medicine that can lessen or stop your diarrhea.
  • To help with nausea and vomiting, eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. Choose foods and drinks that are at room temperature. Ask your nurse or doctor about other helpful tips and medicine that is available to help stop or lessen these symptoms.
  • While you are getting this drug, please tell your nurse right away if you get a rash, swelling or bruising or your skin gets red, warm, itchy or painful at the site of your infusion or injection.
  • Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
  • If you are dizzy, get up slowly after sitting or lying.

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are no known interactions of sodium ferric gluconate with food.
  • This drug may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or dietary supplements to make sure that there are no interactions.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse if you have any of these symptoms and/or any new or unusual symptoms:

  • Headache that does not go away
  • Blurry vision or other changes in eyesight
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Tiredness that interferes with your daily activities
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way (palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Throwing up more than 3 times a day
  • Diarrhea, 4 times in one day or diarrhea with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
  • Pain that does not go away or is not relieved by prescribed medicine
  • Signs of allergic reaction: swelling of the face, feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling, trouble breathing, rash, itching, fever, chills, feeling dizzy, and/or feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.
  • If you think you may be pregnant

Reproduction Warnings

  • Pregnancy warning: It is not known if this drug may harm an unborn child. For this reason, be sure to talk with your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while receiving this drug. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant.
  • Breastfeeding warning: This drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breastfeeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breastfeeding baby.
  • Fertility warning: Human fertility studies have not been done with this drug. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. 

Reviewed August 2019

This patient information was developed by Via Oncology, LLC © 2019. This information is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have.

CLIENT acknowledges that the Via Pathways and Via Portal are information management tools only, and that Via Oncology, LLC has not represented the Via Pathways or Via Portal as having the ability to diagnose disease, prescribe treatment, or perform any other tasks that constitute the practice of medicine. The clinical information contained in the Via Pathways and Via Portal are intended as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the knowledge, expertise, skill, and judgment of physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals involved with patient care at CLIENT facilities.