ferrous fumarate (generic name)

Ferrets (brand name)

Iron is used to treat iron deficiency anemia
(AHY ern)
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What is this medicine?

IRON (AHY ern) replaces iron that is essential to healthy red blood cells. Iron is used to treat iron deficiency anemia. Anemia may cause problems like tiredness, shortness of breath, or slowed growth in children. Only take iron if your doctor has told you to. Do not treat yourself with iron if you are feeling tired. Most healthy people get enough iron in their diets, particularly if they eat cereals, meat, poultry, and fish.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • frequently drink alcohol
  • bowel disease
  • hemolytic anemia
  • iron overload (hemochromatosis, hemosiderosis)
  • liver disease
  • problems with swallowing
  • stomach ulcer or other stomach problems
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to iron, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water or fruit juice. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow whole. Do not crush or chew. Take this medicine in an upright or sitting position. Try to take any bedtime doses at least 10 minutes before lying down. You may take this medicine with food. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

If you are taking this iron product, you should not take iron in any other medicine or dietary supplement.

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
  • alendronate
  • antacids
  • cefdinir
  • chloramphenicol
  • cholestyramine
  • deferoxamine
  • dimercaprol
  • etidronate
  • medicines for stomach ulcers or other stomach problems
  • pancreatic enzymes
  • quinolone antibiotics (examples: Cipro, Floxin, Levaquin, Tequin and others)
  • risedronate
  • tetracycline antibiotics (examples: doxycycline, tetracycline, minocycline, and others)
  • thyroid hormones

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Use iron supplements only as directed by your health care professional. You will need important blood work while you are taking this medicine. It may take 3 to 6 months of therapy to treat low iron levels. Pregnant women should follow the dose and length of iron treatment as directed by their doctors.

Do not use iron longer than prescribed, and do not take a higher dose than recommended. Long-term use may cause excess iron to build-up in the body.

Do not take iron with antacids. If you need to take an antacid, take it 2 hours after a dose of iron.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • blue lips, nails, or palms
  • dark colored stools (this may be due to the iron, but can indicate a more serious condition)
  • drowsiness
  • pain with or difficulty swallowing
  • pale or clammy skin
  • seizures
  • stomach pain
  • unusually weak or tired
  • vomiting
  • weak, fast, or irregular heartbeat

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • constipation
  • indigestion
  • nausea or stomach upset

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Last Updated: May 05, 2009
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