Iron supplements

Iron Supplements

Serum Ferritin

Measurement of serum ferritin via a blood test gives a measure of the iron stores in the body;

•   Normal levels of iron are important to health and in particular to making 
haemoglobin:

o   Anaemia is when haemoglobin levels are low.

      Serum ferritin levels can be low without anaemia;

      A low serum ferritin level is not unusual;

      There are many reasons why serum ferritin levels can be low:

o   You will be advised if any further tests are required;

o   In some patients there is no obvious reason why their levels are low.

•   Low serum ferritin levels can make the mouth more prone to being sore: Some patients report that boosting their iron levels with iron supplements helps.

Iron Supplements:

      Iron supplements can be prescribed or bought over the counter at a
chemists or the pharmacy section at one of the major supermarkets

      Iron supplements generally need to be taken on a regular basis for 3
months:

o   For most adults, the recommendation is to take ferrous fumarate or ferrous gluconate liquid 5ml up to three times a day either on an empty stomach or after food, as long as there are no unacceptable side effects.

One option is to start on a low dose then gradually increase the dose:

o   Ferrous fumarate I gluconate liquid: 5ml once a day for one week;-if OK, then

o   Ferrous fumarate / gluconate liquid: 5ml twice a day for one week;- if OK, then

o   Ferrous fumarate I gluconate liquid: 5ml three times a day for 3 months.

Side Effects of Iron supplements:

•   Common side effects include:

o   Nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, or constipation.

o   Your stools will be dark

•   If side effects are troublesome:

o   Reduce the frequency to once or twice daily

Rechecking Serum Ferritin Level

Your serum ferritin level should be re-checked after a course of treatment to see how you have responded.

Further Information

•   This information sheet is to give you an initial overview of ferritin levels and Iron supplements;

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