Elemental Iron Side Effects
Generic Name: carbonyl iron
Note: This document contains side effect information about carbonyl iron. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Elemental Iron.
Some side effects of Elemental Iron may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.
For the Consumer
Applies to carbonyl iron: suspension
Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur while taking carbonyl iron (the active ingredient contained in Elemental Iron)
Constipation; darkened or green stools; diarrhea; loss of appetite; nausea; stomach cramps, pain, or upset; vomiting.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); black or tarry stools; blood or streaks of blood in the stool; fever; severe or persistent nausea, stomach pain, or vomiting; vomit that looks like blood or coffee grounds.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to carbonyl iron: oral suspension, oral tablet, oral tablet chewable
Gastrointestinal side effects have been reported the most frequently. They have included diarrhea (45%) vs. placebo (3%), cramping (38%) vs. placebo (0%), nausea (30%) vs. placebo (8%), constipation (25%) vs. placebo (14%), heartburn (17%) vs. placebo (6%), and epigastric discomfort (16%) vs. placebo (11%).
Constipation may be relieved by administering docusate sodium 100 mg to 200 mg per day in addition to increasing the intake of oral fluids, such as water.
Iron overload (i.e., hemosiderosis) has been reported in patients genetically predisposed, or have underlying disorders, that augment the absorption of iron. It has also occurred following administration of excessive parenteral iron therapy, combination of oral and parenteral iron, or in patients with hemoglobinopathies that were erroneously diagnosed as iron deficiency anemia. Hemosiderosis is treated with repeated phlebotomy or long-term administration of deferoxamine. The liver is particularly susceptible to toxicity in iron-overload states.
Stained teeth have been reported primarily following ingestion of iron liquid preparations. Liquid dosage forms should be diluted in juice or water and sipped through a straw to aid in prevention of staining.
Other side effects have included iron overload (hemosiderosis) and stained teeth. Secondary hemochromatosis due to prolonged iron ingestion has been reported rarely. An unpleasant taste following carbonyl iron ingestion has been reported in 40% to 70% of patients.
Nervous system side effects have included headache (29%) vs. placebo (25%), and weakness (11%) vs placebo (9%).
More about Elemental Iron (carbonyl iron)
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