What is Injectafer?
Injectafer (generic: ferric carboxymaltose) injection is an iron carbohydrate complex used to treat iron deficiency anemia in adults who have intolerance to oral iron, or who have non-dialysis dependent chronic kidney disease (CKD). The drug is administered directly into the patient’s vein, and is designed to gradually release iron inside the body, which may decrease the potential for certain side effects and provide additional iron in just 2 IV administrations. Injectafer was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2013.
What is Adult Iron Deficiency Anemia?
Adult iron deficiency anemia is a common medical condition in which the blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells due to insufficient iron, according to the Mayo Clinic. Without enough iron, the body can’t produce hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen. As a result, adult iron deficiency anemia causes a range of symptoms including:
- Extreme fatigue
- Pale skin
- Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath
- Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness
- Cold hands and feet
- Inflammation or soreness of the tongue
- Brittle nails
- Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch
- Poor appetite
What’s the Problem?
Recent studies have found that Injectafer may increase the risk for a severe electrolyte disorder called hypophosphatemia, or HPP, compared to other similar medications.
What is Hypophosphatemia?
Hypophosphatemia is an abnormally low level of phosphate in the blood, according to Healthline. Phosphate is an electrolyte that helps the body with energy production and nerve function. There are 2 main types of hypophosphatemia:
- Acute hypophosphatemia (comes on quickly)
- Chronic hypophosphatemia (develops over time)
Hypophosphatemia in many patients is asymptomatic, according to Merck Manuals. However, when symptoms do present they may include:
- Muscle weakness
- Osteomalacia (softening of the bones)
- Serious neuromuscular disturbances
- Progressive encephalopathy (brain damage)
Injectafer Hypophosphatemia Studies
A 2016 study published in PLOS One found that 45.5% of patients who were injected with ferric carboxymaltose (FCM), the type of iron contained in Injectafer, were diagnosed with hypophosphatemia, and 32% developed severe HPP, compared to just 4% HPP and 0% severe HPP with iron isomaltoside (IIM), a different injectable iron supplement. The researchers concluded that treatment with ferric carboxymaltose “is associated with a high risk of developing severe and prolonged hypophosphatemia and should therefore be monitored.”
Another study published in the International Journal of Rheumatology in 2015 looked at a cohort of 52 patients who received iron sucrose injections and 78 patients who received ferric carboxymaltose injections. The researchers found that only 22% of those treated with iron sucrose developed hypophosphatemia, while 51% of those treated with ferric carboxymaltose developed HPP, including 13% with severe HPP. “Hypophosphatemia is frequent after parenteral FCM injection,” the authors concluded, “and may have clinical consequences, including persistent fatigue.”
Injectafer Side Effects
In addition to the risk of hypophosphatemia, Injectafer has been linked to the following side effects:
- Serious allergic reactions
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
- High blood pressure
- Facial flushing
- And more
Medical treatment for hypophosphatemia is dependent on 3 factors: cause, severity, and duration. If Injectafer side effects are the suspected cause of HPP, the medication should be discontinued in favor of a treatment with fewer potential side effects. However, you should never stop taking a prescription drug without talking to your doctor first, as doing so could result in adverse health consequences.
Do I Have an Injectafer Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Injectafer Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.
If you or a loved one was injured by Injectafer, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.