If you are taking a dietary supplement without a prescription, carefully read and follow any precautions on the label. For these supplements, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to medicines in this group or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Problems in children have not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended amounts. Iron supplements, when prescribed by your health care professional, are not expected to cause different side effects in children than they do in adults. However, it is important to follow the directions carefully, since iron overdose in children is especially dangerous.
Studies on sodium ferric gluconate have shown that this supplement is safe to use in children ages 6 to 15 years. The safety of sodium ferric gluconate has not been determined in patients who are younger than 6 years of age.
Problems in older adults have not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended amounts. Elderly people sometimes do not absorb iron as easily as younger adults and may need a larger dose. If you think you need to take an iron supplement, check with your health care professional first. Only your health care professional can decide if you need an iron supplement and how much you should take.
It is especially important that you are receiving enough vitamins and minerals when you become pregnant and that you continue to receive the right amount of vitamins and minerals throughout your pregnancy. Healthy fetal growth and development depend on a steady supply of nutrients from mother to fetus. During the first 3 months of pregnancy, a proper diet usually provides enough iron. However, during the last 6 months, in order to meet the increased needs of the developing baby, an iron supplement may be recommended by your health care professional.
However, taking large amounts of a dietary supplement in pregnancy may be harmful to the mother and/or fetus and should be avoided.
It is especially important that you receive the right amounts of vitamins and minerals so that your baby will also get the vitamins and minerals needed to grow properly. Iron normally is present in breast milk in small amounts. When prescribed by a health care professional, iron preparations are not known to cause problems during breast-feeding. However, nursing mothers are advised to check with their health care professional before taking iron supplements or any other medication. Taking large amounts of a dietary supplement while breast-feeding may be harmful to the mother and/or infant and should be avoided.
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking any of these dietary supplements, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using dietary supplements in this class with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of dietary supplements in this class. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Alcohol abuse (or history of) or
- Blood transfusions (with high red blood cell iron content) or
- Kidney infection or
- Liver disease or
- Porphyria cutaneous tarda—Higher blood levels of the iron supplement may occur, which may increase the chance of side effects.
- Arthritis (rheumatoid) or
- Asthma or allergies or
- Heart disease—The injected form of iron may make these conditions worse.
- Colitis or other intestinal problems or
- Iron overload conditions (e.g., hemochromatosis, hemosiderosis, hemoglobinopathies) or
- Stomach ulcer—Iron supplements may make these conditions worse.
- Other anemias—Iron supplements may increase iron to toxic levels in anemias not associated with iron deficiency.