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Therapeutic Phlebotomy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 2, 2022.

Therapeutic phlebotomy is a procedure to remove blood from your body. This procedure is done to treat certain blood disorders, such as hemochromatosis or polycythemia vera. It helps decrease high levels of iron or red blood cells.


Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You feel weak or more tired than usual.
  • Your heart is beating faster than usual.
  • You have shortness of breath.
  • You have pale skin or cold hands and feet.
  • You cannot think clearly.
  • You are breathing faster than usual.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return for tests and more phlebotomies. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


  • Drink liquids as directed. You may need to drink about 8 eight-ounce cups of liquids throughout the day after this procedure. Do not have alcohol or drinks that contain caffeine.
  • Avoid intense exercise for 24 hours after a phlebotomy.
  • Continue your phlebotomy treatments as directed. If you have hemochromatosis, you will need phlebotomies for the rest of your life.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.