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Ferrous sulfate is a type of iron, used to treat iron deficiency anemia.  If there is too little iron in the body it may result in lack of the red blood cells. The red blood cells contain hemoglobin. Lack of red blood cells cause lack of hemoglobin and less oxygen is transferred from the blood to other parts of the body.

The medicine is used on an empty stomach, 1 hour before or 2 hours after the meal. Antacids or antibiotics should be used 2 hours before or after the use of ferrous sulfate.The treatment for iron deficiency anemia may include a special diet. Do your best to follow the diet regime.

Possible side effects of ferrous sulfate use are gastrointestinal problems. Those are mostly dose dependant and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, anorexia and heartburn. The unpleasant side effects could be minimized if the therapy starts with smaller doses and then increases over time, or by taking the medication with food. The downside of taking ferrous sulfate with food is the possible decrease in amount of the absorbed iron.

Constipation is treated with the docusate sodium and increased intake of water.

Other side effects are teeth stains and iron overload, and rarely secondary hematochromatosis. Teeth stains might be avoided if the liquid ferrous sulfate is mixed with some water and sipped through a straw. Iron overload is a symptom that occurs in predisposed patients or when using parenteral preparations of ferrous sulfate. The condition may be toxic to the liver and the treatment is phlebotomy and deferoxamine. Some patients treated with deferoxamine develop gastroeneteritis, caused by Yersinia enterocolitica or Listeria monocytogenes. In those cases deferoxamine is stopped and the appropriate antibiotic is used.

Local side effect of ferrous sulfate is gangrene. Some pregnant women have reported a localized corrosion when using this medication.

The consultation with the doctor of pharmacist is necessary if you have hemolytic anemia, porphyria, thalassemia or iron overload syndrome or you tend to overuse alcohol. Patients that receive regular blood transfusions also need to consult the doctor.

The doctor should know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding during the treatment with this medication. Harmful potential of ferrous sulfate to the unborn children and nursing babies is still unknown.

Overdose with ferrous sulfate can be fatal, so if you or anyone else has taken the tablets by accident seek urgent medical attention. Overdose symptoms of the medication are nausea, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, blood cough, weak pulse, pale skin and convulsions.

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