What are severe side effects of total parenteral nutrition?

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
There are a few serious side effects with total parenteral nutrition (TPN), a method of delivering liquid nutrients intravenously. You could get a potentially fatal reaction called refeeding syndrome, which is caused by getting too much TPN solution at once. Some warning signs include:
  • convulsions/seizures
  • swelling in the hands, feet or legs
  • stomach pain, upset stomach, vomiting
  • difficulty breathing
  • fever or chills
  • memory loss
  • slow heart rate
  • muscle weakness or stiffness
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms -- or any other uncomfortable symptoms. Liver problems, bacterial infection in the blood, gallstones and inflammation of the pancreas are also serious side effects of TPN that require prompt medical attention.

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