Dextran (high molecular weight)
Medically reviewed on Nov 27, 2017
What is high-molecular weight dextran?
High-molecular weight dextran is a plasma volume expander made from natural sources of sugar (glucose). It works by restoring blood plasma lost through severe bleeding. Severe blood loss can decrease oxygen levels and can lead to organ failure, brain damage, coma, and possibly death. Plasma is needed to circulate red blood cells that deliver oxygen throughout the body.
Dextran is used to treat hypovolemia (decreased volume of circulating blood plasma), that can result from surgery, trauma or injury, severe burns, or other causes of bleeding.
Dextran may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not receive this medication if you have severe kidney disease, severe congestive heart failure, or uncontrolled bleeding.
Before taking this medicine
You should not receive this medication if you are allergic to dextran, or if you have
severe kidney disease
severe congestive heart failure; or
If possible before you receive dextran, tell your doctor if you have:
liver or kidney disease;
a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia or thrombocytopenic purpura (easy bruising or bleeding);
heart disease, fluid retention;
asthma or breathing problems;
a stomach or intestinal disorder;
a food or drug allergy; or
if you are on a low-salt diet.
In an emergency situation it may not be possible to tell your caregivers about your health conditions. Make sure any doctor caring for you afterward knows you have received this medicine.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether high-molecular weight dextran will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.
It is not known whether high-molecular weight dextran passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
In an emergency situation it may not be possible to tell your caregivers if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows you have received this medication.
How is high-molecular weight dextran given?
This medicine is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.
Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when the medicine is injected.
Your breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, kidney function, and other vital signs will be watched closely while you are receiving high-molecular weight dextran. Your blood will also need to be tested daily during treatment, and you may also need chest x-rays.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Because you will receive dextran in a clinical setting, you are not likely to miss a dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.
What should I avoid after receiving high-molecular weight dextran?
Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.
High-molecular weight dextran side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives or skin rash; stuffy nose, wheezing, chest tightness; feeling like you might pass out; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Tell your caregiver right away if you have:
weak or shallow breathing; or
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out.
Common side effects may include:
pain, swelling, or bruising along the vein where the medicine was injected.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect high-molecular weight dextran?
Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with high-molecular weight dextran, especially:
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with high-molecular weight dextran, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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