You do not need to worry about them. If you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables you can safely take iron pills at least every day.
Your doctor might suggest other medicines if your condition is getting worse.
For more information, speak to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. You will need to discuss:
How long does it take to get a reaction? If you have taken iron pills on a previous day, you will usually have a reaction in about 12 minutes.
You get some of your iron from your bile (in faeces) or from eating foods that contain iron such as fish, milk and eggs. You need more iron than you have been getting from these foods. Your symptoms will probably improve when the daily dose is increased. This means you might need to take another dose.
Have you taken iron pills for other conditions? If you have iron pills for other conditions, it might not make a difference if you have them every day. You may need the iron supplements for another illness and you may need to stay in hospital if you have a fever. If you have a fever during your treatment, it may be difficult to control.
What do I do if I miss a dose? If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if you are taking the same dose on another day. Do not take double doses.
What happens if I overdose? If you overdose on iron supplements, you could become seriously ill. The most common side effects include: low blood pressure, dizziness, blurred vision, muscle pain, low energy, loss of consciousness and loss of feeling in your feet. Overdose can also stop a heart. Serious side effects include: seizures.
Less common side effects include: nausea, constipation, low muscle tone, swelling of the mouth, mouth ulcers, stomach pain and vomiting, dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness, feeling tired, dry mouth, dry skin, diarrhoea, a fast heartbeat or blood in the urine. Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to iron pills.
This is not a complete list of side effects. If you notice any other effects, tell your doctor or nurse. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Image copyright Science Photo Library Image caption The ‘wannabe’ astronaut gets his wish – his name appears on the plaque
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