side effects of oral iron treatment

Last reviewed 01/2018

Side effects are the main reasons why there is poor compliance.

  • taking the dose after meals may reduce the side effects
  • gastrointestinal side effects are not dose related
  • modified release preparations should be avoided since iron is often released after passing the small bowel absorption site (1).
Common side effects associated with oral iron therapy include:
  • nausea
  • abdominal discomfort
  • vomiting
  • constipation or diarrhoea
  • turn faeces black
  • with parenteral injections
  • iv injections of iron should not be given to patients with a history of asthma - allergic reactions can occur; these may occur, though less readily, with im iron injections
  • thrombophlebitis
  • metallic taste in the mouth
  • hypotension
  • bradycardia
  • arthralgia
  • myalgia
  • lymph node enlargement