March 21, 2017

Hetastarch injection

What is hetastarch injection?

HETASTARCH (Hespan®) treats or prevents shock, following serious injury, bleeding, surgery, or burns, by increasing the volume of blood plasma. Hetastarch is not a substitute for blood, but is for emergency situations when whole blood or blood products are not available. Generic hetastarch injections are available.

What should my health care professional know before I receive hetastarch?

They need to know if you have any of the following conditions:

  • bleeding disorder or blood disease

  • disease of the brain

  • having intramuscular injections

  • heart, liver, or kidney disease

  • fluid on the lungs

  • other chronic illness

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to corn, hetastarch, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pancreatitis

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Hetastarch is for infusion into a vein. It is given by a health-care professional in a hospital or clinic.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply.

What drug(s) may interact with hetastarch?

  • certain hormones (steroids) such as cortisone or prednisone

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What should I watch for while taking hetastarch?

Your condition will be closely monitored while you receive hetastarch.

What side effects may I notice from receiving hetastarch?

Side effects from hetastarch include:

Rare or uncommon:

  • difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, or tightening of the throat

  • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, hands, or feet

  • tightness in the chest, cough, wheezing, or difficulty breathing

  • unusual rash, bleeding or bruising, or pinpoint red spots on the skin

  • unusual bleeding


  • confusion, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting spells

  • fast or uneven heart beat, palpitations, or chest pain

  • fever, chills

  • blood disorder or anemia

  • headache

  • joint or muscle pains

  • nausea, vomiting

  • pain and burning at the injection site

  • restlessness

  • skin rash or redness, itching (hives)

  • stuffy nose

  • unusual swelling of the body, not passing urine or difficulty passing urine

  • unusual swelling, not passing urine or difficulty passing urine

Where can I keep my medicine?

Hetastarch injection is given only by a health-care professional in a hospital or clinic setting.


March 21, 2017


U.S. FDA-approved Package Insert