Ferumoxytol, sold under the brand name Feraheme, is a prescription iron oxide nanoparticle drug formulation. It is approved by the FDA for intravenous administration in adult patients to treat iron deficiency anemia.
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What Is Ferumoxytol?
Ferumoxytol is an iron replacement medication given intravenously (IV) to patients who cannot receive iron drug therapy orally or patients suffering from chronic kidney disease. It belongs to the class of drugs called iron replacement products.
Before taking this medication, it is crucial to inform your doctor or pharmacist:
- If you are allergic to ferumoxytol, or any other drug.
- If you are taking any herbal drugs, OTC medicines, vitamins, prescription, or non-prescription medications.
- If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant.
- About your medical and disease history.
What Is Ferumoxytol Used To Treat?
Ferumoxytol is a prescription IV medication used to treat iron deficiency anemia in adults with chronic kidney disease who do not respond to oral iron therapy.
What Is Iron Deficiency Anemia?
Iron is a major and essential component for making hemoglobin in the body. Hemoglobin is a type of protein present in the red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of our body. Twenty-five percent of iron is stored in our body in a blood protein, known as ferritin.
Iron deficiency anemia, as the name indicates, is a blood disorder in which there is a deficiency of healthy red blood cells in the blood.
This is due to a lack of iron. As a result, there is inadequate hemoglobin production in the body, which leads to a deficiency of red blood cells because the body does not have enough iron to make red blood cells.
How Does Ferumoxytol Work?
Ferumoxytol works by restoring the reserved iron in our body, so it can make healthy and sufficient red blood cells to treat anemia.
How Is Ferumoxytol Administered?
- Ferumoxytol is injected into the vein (intravenously) by a nurse or doctor in the hospital or medical setup.
- Ferumoxytol is injected slowly, which requires at least 15 minutes for infusing the total dose into the bloodstream.
- Usually, two doses of ferumoxytol injection are given, separated between 3 to 8 days.
- Ferumoxytol injection is administered to adults with iron deficiency anemia who cannot take iron therapy orally. There is a lack of studies about the safety and efficacy of ferumoxytol in pediatric patients. Therefore, it should not be given to pediatrics.
The common side effects of ferumoxytol include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
These common side effects usually go away on their own. But if the side effects become severe, intolerable, or do not go away within a few days of taking the drug, consult your doctor and pharmacist.
The severe side effects include:
- Swelling of the lower legs, ankles, hands, and feet
- Shortness of breath
- Rash or itching
- Severe dizziness or fainting
- Loss of consciousness
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Ferumoxytol Drug Interactions
Ferumoxytol should not be taken with the following drugs as it may decrease absorption:
- Calcium phosphate
- Calcium phosphate dihydrate
Ferumoxytol comes in the following strength of injectable solution: 510 mg/17 ml vial (30 mg/ml).
- The first dose of ferumoxytol (510 mg IV infused over 15 minutes) is injected on day 1.
- The second dose (510 mg IV) is injected after 3 to 8 days.
Cost of Ferumoxytol
The cost of ferumoxytol injection can vary depending on several factors, including:
- The type and location of the pharmacy or hospital where you purchase the injection.
- The number of total doses prescribed.
- The severity of your disease and your medical condition.
- Whether or not your insurance plan covers the cost of ferumoxytol injection.
However, on average, the cost of a ferumoxytol injection is around $933 for a supply of 17 ml without insurance.
Ferumoxytol vs. Venofer
Ferumoxytol and Venofer are both intravenous products used to treat iron deficiency anemia. Ferumoxytol is a superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle, coated with poly glucose sorbitol carboxymethyl ether, and Venofer is an iron sucrose injection, a form of the mineral iron.
Both drugs belong to the class of medication called iron replacement products, and work by replenishing iron stores in the body. Comparison studies between both drugs indicate that iron sucrose and ferumoxytol are safe and effective, and no significant differences between these two drugs are seen.
Is Ferumoxytol Safe?
Ferumoxytol is safe when taken as prescribed and recommended by your doctor. Studies show that Ferumoxytol is well-tolerated and has a strong safety profile in anemic patients with chronic kidney failure or kidney disease of stages 1 to 5. Research was done on 750 patients with chronic kidney disease having iron deficiency anemia. Out of these patients, only 21 (2.9%) showed serious adverse effects.
The common adverse events reported were as follows:
- Pruritus (Itching of the skin)
Is Ferumoxytol a Chemo Drug?
Ferumoxytol is not a chemo drug; it is an iron replacement product. However, it can be given to cancer patients suffering from iron deficiency anemia. Studies suggest that monotherapy with intravenous iron drugs, like ferumoxytol, can be given to cancer patients who do not respond to oral iron drug treatment or who are suffering from iron deficiency anemia.
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What type of drug is ferumoxytol?
Ferumoxytol is a type of drug called an iron replacement product or medication. It treats iron-deficiency anemia by restoring or replenishing iron stores in the body.
How quickly does iron infusion raise hemoglobin?
Intravenous infusion can rapidly increase iron stores in the body, and raise hemoglobin levels. The iron stores reach their peak concentration in the body within approximately 7 to 9 days or within 2 weeks after intravenous infusion, increasing hemoglobin levels.
Ferumoxytol is an intravenous iron medication given to patients suffering from iron deficiency anemia with chronic kidney disease, or who cannot tolerate oral iron therapy. Two doses of ferumoxytol injection are administered at an interval of 3 to 8 days. If anemia still persists after two doses, the therapy may be increased according to the patient’s condition and as recommended by the doctor.
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Dr. Saba Rassouli, PharmD was born and raised in Iran. She received her pharmacy degree from Marshall B. Ketchum University in 2022, where she graduated cum laude. The most rewarding part of her job is having the opportunity to care for each patient as if they were family and hearing about how happy and satisfied they are with the services provided by AmeriPharma. In her free time, she likes to go on walks, read books, and try different restaurants and foods.