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Iron Supplementation

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Iron Supplementation, Iron Replacement, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Sulfate, Ferrous Gluconate, Feosol, Fer-In-Sol, Ferrous Fumarate, Hemocyte, Ferric Compounds

  • Precautions
  1. Iron supplements in overdosage may be lethal in children (FDA black box warning)
    1. See Iron Ingestion
  2. Ferrous Sulfate and Ferrous Fumarate are preferred preparations
    1. Delivers highest elemental iron amounts
    2. Ferrous Gluconate supplies only 50% of the elemntal iron
  3. Formulations with risk of lower iron absorption
    1. Extended release or enteric coated iron formulations
  4. Formulations with no evidence of benefit
    1. Polysaccharide-iron complex (e.g. Ferrex 150)
    2. Carbonyl iron (ICAR)
    3. Heme Iron Polypeptide (Proferrin ES)
  5. References
    1. (2017) Presc Lett 24(3)
  • Preparations
  1. Ferrous Sulfate (FeSO4)
    1. Elemental Iron: 15 mg per 75 mg/0.6 ml Dropper
    2. Elemental Iron: 60 mg per 300 mg/5 ml Syrup
    3. Elemental Iron: 44 mg per 220 mg/5 ml Elixir/Liquid
    4. Elemental Iron: 65 mg per 325 mg Tablet (or 60 mg per 300 mg tablet)
  2. Ferrous Fumarate
    1. Elemental Iron: 106 mg per 325 mg tablet (or 29.5 mg per 90 mg tablet)
  3. Ferrous Gluconate (Fergon)
    1. May be better tolerated that other forms, but supplies only 50% of the iron in other formulations
    2. Elemental Iron: 36 mg per 325 mg tablet (or 27 mg per 240 mg tablet)
    3. Elemental Iron: 30 mg per 300 mg/5 ml syrup
  4. Iron Dextran (Imferon)
    1. See Parenteral Iron
  • Dosing
  1. General Anemia management (adults)
    1. Ferrous Sulfate 325 mg orally daily (65 to 100 mg elemental iron daily)
  2. Postpartum Iron Deficiency Anemia
    1. Hemoglobin 7-9
      1. Ferrous Sulfate 325 mg PO tid
    2. Hemoglobin 9-10
      1. Ferrous Sulfate 325mg PO bid
    3. Hemoglobin >10
      1. Ferrous Sulfate 325mg PO qd
  3. Pediatric Anemia
    1. Severe Pediatric Anemia
      1. Ferrous Sulfate 4-6 mg/kg/day PO tid
    2. Mild Pediatric Anemia or Prophylaxis
      1. Ferrous Sulfate 1-2 mg/kg/day PO qd-bid
    3. Overall daily dietary requirements (or supplementation) in non-anemic children
      1. Preterm Infants (born <37 weeks) age <12 months
        1. Exclusively Breast fed: 2 mg/kg/day
        2. Iron-fortified formula: 1 mg/kg/day
      2. Term infants age <12 months
        1. Exclusively Breast fed: 1 mg/kg/day
        2. Iron-fortified formula: No additional needed
      3. Children age 1 to 3 years
        1. Requirement: 7 mg/day elemental iron total via diet or supplementation
      4. Children age 4 to 8 years
        1. Requirement: 10 mg/day elemental iron total via diet or supplementation
  • Drug Interactions
  1. Food and drugs reducing iron absorption
    1. Antacids (raise pH, low acidity)
      1. Tums, Maalox, or Mylanta
      2. Histamine H2 Receptor Blockers (e.g. Ranitidine)
      3. Proton Pump Inhibitors (e.g. Prilosec)
    2. Inhibitors of iron absorption
      1. Polyphenol (in vegetables)
      2. Tannins (in tea)
      3. Phytate (in bran, cereal)
      4. Calcium (dairy products)
  2. Drugs increasing iron absorption
    1. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
  3. Drugs with decreased absorption when taken with iron
    1. Levodopa
    2. Methyldopa
    3. Penicillamine
    4. Quinolones
    5. Tetracyclines
  • Adverse Effects
  1. Gastrointestinal distress
    1. Ferrous iron causes mucosal irritation
    2. Start with once daily dosing and titrate to two to three times daily if needed
    3. Tolerance is directly related to iron concentration
      1. Start with normal concentration elemental iron
        1. Decrease to lower concentrations as needed
      2. Lower elemental iron concentration better tolerated
        1. Ferrous Gluconate
        2. More expensive iron preparations
        3. Consider 15 mg elemental iron liquid dissolved in orange juice
    4. Enteric coated Iron has decreased absorption
    5. Liquid formulations may be better tolerated
  2. Black stools
  3. Hemochromatosis
    1. Prolonged, excessive Iron Supplementation