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Elemental Iron



Iron supplements are takrn orally  to treat and prevent anemia due to iron deficiency (lack of enough iron that affects development of red blood cells causing reduction in number of red blood cells in the body).Iron is also used in the form of iron  dextran injection is used to treat iron deficiencies and iron deficiency anemia (low red blood cells) in severe deficiencies or when the patient cannot tolerate iron orally.Iron sucrose injection is used to treat iron deficiency anemia in people with kidney disease. It is usually given with another medication to promote the growth of red blood cells

How it works

Iron preparations belong to a group of medicines called antianemics, and iron supplements. Iron is essential for formation of hemoglobin (substance that carries oxygen and gives blood its red color) and myoglobin (muscle protein that provides oxygen to functioning muscles), and for the oxidative processes of tissues (to transport oxygen to various tissues) in our body. It also supports functioning of several essential enzymes, neutrophils and plays important role in metabolism.

Common side effects

Nausea, Diarrhoea, Abdominal cramp, Gastrointestinal discomfort, Constipation, Heartburn, Black and bloody stools, Teeth discolouration, Vomiting, Yellow discoloration of urine


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Expert advice

Do not start or continue iron preparations (ferrous salts) and consult your doctor: 
  • if you have allergy to iron supplements
  • if you have anemia not produced by iron deficiency
  • if you have bronze markings on your skin to show a buildup of too much iron in the body (hemochromatosis or hemosiderosis)
  • if you have or had any serious disease affecting the intestines, including stomach ulcers, inflammatory conditions of your bowel, 
  • if you noticed blood in urine
  • if you have been told by your doctor that you have an intolerance to some sugars
Iron  injection can cause severe and sometimes fatal allergic reactions or severely low blood pressure. Tell your caregiver right away if you feel light-headed (like you might pass out), or if you suddenly have trouble breathing
You should not receive iron injection  if you are allergic to it, or if you have a type of anemia that is not caused by iron deficiency
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
 Do not use iron injection if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.

Frequently asked questions

Elemental Iron

Q. Can I take iron tablets for life long/ How long can I take iron tablets for?
Iron supplement is advised in patients with iron deficiency or iron deficient anemia till the haemoglobin level becomes normal. Please consult your doctor regarding its proper use.
Q. Can I take iron pills for anemia and iron deficiency?
Yes, iron pills are recommended for iron deficient anemia. It is not recommended for other types of anemia. Always consult your doctor regarding its proper use.
Q. What can I take for iron supplement?
You can consume food items that are rich in iron content (like red meat, pork, poultry, seafood or beans, dark green leafy vegetables (like spinach), dried fruit (raisins and apricots), iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas, peas). Iron supplements (tables or capsules) available at pharmacy store are to be used for iron deficient anemia. Always consult your doctor regarding its proper use.
Q. What can I take for iron deficiency anemia?
You can take iron supplement (ferrous fumarate/ferrous sulfate/ferrous gluconate) tablets to treat iron deficient anemia. Always consult your doctor regarding its proper use.
Q. Can I take iron with vitamin C/ Vitamin D/ multivitamin/ folic acid?
Yes, iron and vitamin C/ Vitamin D/ multivitamin/ folic acid can be taken together. Taking vitamin C and iron together helps the body absorb the iron Always consult your doctor regarding its proper use.
Q. Can I take iron with zinc?
No, iron supplement may alter the absorption of zinc, if given together.
Q. Can I take iron with Tylenol?
Yes, patient can take Tylenol (paracetamol) with iron. However, always consult your doctor regarding its proper use.
Q. Do iron supplements increase weight?
Taking iron supplements may cause weight gain.
Q. Does iron tablets/syrup cause constipation/ acne? 
Yes, consumption of iron in any form may cause constipation or acne. Please consult your doctor if you experience such side effects.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)