Injectafer vs Venofer For Iron Deficiency Anemia – Differences & Side Effects

Injectafer

It is the brand name of a drug called ferric carboxymaltose, which belongs to a group of drugs called alkylating agents.

Uses

This prescription medication is used to treat iron deficiency anemia in adult patients.

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition where a lack of iron in the body leads to a reduction in the number of red blood cells (the principal means of delivering oxygen to the body tissues).

This nutritional deficiency is recognized as the most common nutritional deficiency disorder in the world, affecting over two billion people.

Some common causes of iron deficiency anemia include:

  • pregnancy;
  • poor diet;
  • a decreased ability to absorb iron;
  • blood loss.

Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include:

  • a pale complexion;
  • tiredness and lack of energy (lethargy);
  • hair loss;
  • noticeable heartbeats;
  • spoon-shaped nails;
  • shortness of breath;
  • an altered sense of taste;
  • headache;
  • difficulty swallowing;
  • painful open sores on the corners of your mouth;
  • hearing sounds that come from inside the body;
  • a desire to eat non-food items;
  • feeling itchy.

Dosage

For iron deficiency anemia, the usual recommended dosage is two doses of 750 mg via slow IV push or infusion separated by at least 7 days.

The maximum recommended dose is 1500 mg of iron per course.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • flushing (warmth or tingly feeling);
  • vomiting;
  • nausea;
  • dizziness;
  • pounding in your neck or ears;
  • severe headache;
  • headache;
  • pain or discolored skin where the medication was injected.

Rare side effects may include:

  • seizure (convulsions);
  • muscle weakness;
  • loss of consciousness;
  • bone pain;
  • blue lips or fingernails;
  • confusion;
  • pale skin;
  • chest pain;
  • severe shortness of breath;
  • vomiting blood;
  • bloody or tarry stools;
  • -metallic taste in the mouth.

Contraindications

Before taking this alkylating agent, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • anemia that is not caused by iron deficiency;
  • iron overload disorder (hemosiderosis, hemochromatosis).

AlcoholAlcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this alkylating agent since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of side effects.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Penicillamine (Cuprimine, Depen);
  • Antibiotics (Quinolone antibiotics);
  • Spiriva;
  • Mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept);
  • Antibiotics (Tetracycline antibiotics);
  • Methyldopa (Aldomet);
  • Kaopectate;
  • Drugs used for HIV (Integrase inhibitors);
  • Levothyroxine;
  • Levodopa.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

This alkylating agent can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing infant. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medication.

It is not known whether this alkylating agent will harm a developing fetus. Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant before taking this medicine.

Venofer

It is the brand name of a drug called iron sucrose.

Uses

This medication is used to treat iron deficiency anemia in patients with kidney disease.

Note – it has a low molecular weight, therefore, it can be given without significant risk of anaphylaxis.

This medication is dissociated into sucrose and iron by the reticuloendothelial system

Dosage

For iron deficiency anemia, the usual recommended dosage is 5 mL (100 mg elemental iron) undiluted slow IV over 2 to 5 minutes.

Note – doses as high as 500 mg have been given, however, the infusion time must be extended to avoid side effects.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • diarrhea;
  • dizziness;
  • back pain;
  • headache;
  • muscle or joint pain;
  • vomiting;
  • irritation where the medicine was injected;
  • itching;
  • pain in an arm or leg;
  • nausea.

Rare side effects may include:

  • confusion;
  • chest pain;
  • anxiety;
  • pounding in your neck or ears;
  • severe headache;
  • a feeling like you might pass out.

Contraindications

Before taking this medication, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • iron overload (the buildup of excess iron).

Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this medication since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of side effects.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is not known whether this medication passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing infant.

This medication is not expected to be harmful to a developing fetus. However, tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant before taking this form of iron.

Bottom Line – Injectafer vs Venofer

Injectafer (active ingredient – ferric carboxymaltose) is an iron replacement product that is used to treat iron deficiency anemia.

Venofer (active ingredient – iron sucrose) is a form of the mineral iron that is used to treat iron deficiency anemia in people with kidney disease. This medication is not for treating other forms of anemia not caused by iron deficiency.

References

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/iron-sucrose
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1516848415001462

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