Gp won't refer me for iron infusion

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My iron levels drop slowly as I've had a gastric bypass and can no longer absorb enough of it just from food. I'm meant to take supplements but without going into huge detail my long term mental illness means that I find it hard to care for myself and don't take them. Please don't give me a lecture on that as it won't alter the fact and I wish very much that I could take the pills properly.

Last year my ferritin went down to 4. A lovely trainee gp referred me for the infusion although I ended up going in for an emergency blood transfusion after having chest pains the next week.

6 months ago my ferritin was down to 15. My gp said all they can do is offer me iron pills and it's up to me if I take them.

Last week at my annual review my gp again said it's iron pills or nothing. I'm waiting for blood results now. I know it will be low as I'm shattered, muscle cramps, no appetite and depressed.

I don't see why I can't just have a yearly infusion to top me up and prevent all these symptoms. I know the gp is trying to encourage me to be responsible but after 30 yrs of mood swings you'd think he'd credit me with knowing what I'm capable of.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Don't you have to take any other medication for your other health issues? 

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    • Posted

      I'm on a lot of psychiatric meds and painkillers. I get withdrawals very quickly if I don't take them. The iron pills made me feel nauseous which really triggered me as I'm a recovering bulimic. Half the trouble with the gp surgery is that it's huge and you have to see whomever is available that day so they don't know me and don't have time to read my history and I've had to have the same conversation about iron pills multiple times for five yrs now.

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    • Posted

      I was prescribed 200mg iron pills but I can't take them as they upset me so I got my doctor to prescribe me high dose 140mg Ferrous Fumurate liquid instead which doesn't upset me at all so you might be better off trying that.  I badly needed iron as my iron was very low and the symptoms were awful and I felt terrible  I guess because this has happened twice with me now and a relative of mine also ended up having an emergency blood transfusion because her iron was dangerously low and she was in a bad way, was a wake up call for me and made me realise how serious it is if you don't get enough iron, so I am making sure I take it everyday now as it's vital for my health.  I sympathise with your situation and health problems - I guess I understand how it can be difficult to look after yourself as I've had health issues for 30 years that have left me in a bad state and bedbound, but you owe it to yourself to make sure that you're getting the nutrition you need as it will only make you feel so much worse if you don't.  I don't know whether iron infusions are offered as a matter of course or just in emergencies as I know my doctor said I would end up having one if I didn't make sure I took an iron supplement asap, but perhaps you could give the high dose liquid Ferrous Fumurate a try to give yourself an immediate boost. Iron pills upset my stomach (gave me stomach cramps and burning urine) but honestly the liquid stuff hasn't upset me in any way at all, even though it's a higher dose.  :-)

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  • Posted

    Hi Yorkie

    I feel your battle. I do think you need to try to make a more conscious effort to take the iron, would setting timers on your mobile work? It stands to reason if you cannot absorb enough from food you might struggle absorbing from medication even if you take as directed. 

    Arrange a follow up appointment with your gp showing that you are doing everything you can and request that if your numbers are still low that you need a transfusion or request their action plan to make you better. 

    Good luck. 

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  • Posted

    I know this is an old post but wondering how you went? I don't eat red meat because of my liver functioning, and as a result my iron is very low. It has actually always been low and I have been aneamic through all of my pregnancies. Also have very heavy periods. I have an extremely busy life raising four children, caring for a mentally ill husband and also trying to work. Having low iron has made me so exhausted some days I can't get out of bed. It's also made me spacy and I forget and get distracted very easily. I have now asked 3 different Drs for an iron infusion and they all refuse to give it to me. They tell me I have to take the pills but I don't take them because I forget. Seriously even if I set a timer by the time I've walked to the medicine cabinet I've forgotten why I'm going there, not to mention I forget about other things like drinking enough water so I don't get constipated. I've got haemorrhoids from constipation resulting from iron supplements. I can't  live like this. I can't work and I can't look after my family. it's a vicious cycle, I can't take care of myself until I have the energy to do so, but they won't give me the iron so I have the energy. But I just can't understand why they won't give it to me. They keep saying "the risks" "the risks", but all treatments have risks, and I have 3 other friends who have been infused with iron without any questions. Why won't they give it to me?

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