Ferrous fumarate is the generic name for the preparation which contains iron, the mineral of essential importance for the creation of the red blood cells which are in charge of carrying the oxygen through the blood stream. Many other body cells need this mineral in order to function chemically. However, regardless of the fact that it is essential for the perfect functioning of every body, this mineral should not be taken unless there is a specific reason for that. As for the conditions when it should be used, they are usually related to the iron deficiency and anemia, which means that the count of the red blood cells is low. Also, it is recommended to use it in pregnancy, because in this period each female needs more iron for the baby.
All the side effects can be divided in several groups, and as for the gastrointestinal ones, they are usually related to the dosage, and include constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, but they can be minimized by the change of the dosage, or if ferrous fumarate is taken with food. However, if taken with food, this way the absorption of iron may be put at risk because certain foods such as eggs, milk etc. prevent the full absorption of this mineral, and the same applies to coffee and tea. On the other side, people who use it should also pay attention to the fact that the absorption is increased when this drug is taken with vitamin C.
As for the interaction with other medicines, it is possible that medicines such as antacids, levodopa, penicillamine, quinolone and tetracycline antibiotics, will cause either increased or decreased absorption of iron. This can be avoided if a person is ready to make a break of at least 2 hours between these two medicines. People with hemochromatosis, hemosiderosis and hemolytic anemia, should consult with their GP before even considering the use of ferrous fumigate. If a person has a history of being allergic to a drug which is similar to ferrous fumigate, or to any other drug which contains iron, that person should not use it again. Also, the doctor should be informed about it.
One more thing that a person should be aware of is related to the fact that black stool is a very usual and harmless effect when using iron supplements. However, if a person notices blood in the stool, or if a person experiences serious stomach pain, it is something that should not be disregarded or considered as common and usual, but medical help should be sought.