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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Detailed Drug Information (USP DI) > Iron Supplements

Iron Supplements (Systemic)

Description and Brand Names | Before Using | Proper Use | Precautions | Side Effects

  • Antianemic - Ferrous Fumarate; Ferrous Gluconate; Ferrous Sulfate; Iron Dextran; Iron-Polysaccharide; Iron Sorbitol; Iron Sucrose; Sodium Ferric Gluconate
  • Nutritional supplement, mineral - Ferrous Fumarate; Ferrous Gluconate; Ferrous Sulfate; Iron Dextran; Iron Sorbitol; Iron-Polysaccharide

Iron is a mineral that the body needs to produce red blood cells. When the body does not get enough iron, it cannot produce the number of normal red blood cells needed to keep you in good health. This condition is called iron deficiency (iron shortage) or iron deficiency anemia.

Although many people in the U.S. get enough iron from their diet, some must take additional amounts to meet their needs. For example, iron is sometimes lost with slow or small amounts of bleeding in the body that you would not be aware of and which can only be detected by your doctor. Your doctor can determine if you have an iron deficiency, what is causing the deficiency, and if an iron supplement is necessary.

Lack of iron may lead to unusual tiredness, shortness of breath, a decrease in physical performance, and learning problems in children and adults, and may increase your chance of getting an infection.

Some conditions may increase your need for iron. These include:

  • Bleeding problems
  • Burns
  • Hemodialysis
  • Intestinal diseases
  • Stomach problems
  • Stomach removal
  • Use of medicines to increase your red blood cell count

In addition, infants, especially those receiving breast milk or low-iron formulas, may need additional iron.

Increased need for iron supplements should be determined by your health care professional.

Injectable iron is administered only by or under the supervision of your health care professional. Other forms of iron are available without a prescription; however, your health care professional may have special instructions on the proper use and dose for your condition.

Iron supplements are available in the following dosage forms:

  • Ferrous Fumarate
    • Capsules (Canada)
    • Extended-release capsules (U.S.)
    • Oral solution (U.S.)
    • Oral suspension (U.S. and Canada)
    • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)
    • Chewable tablets (U.S.)
  • Ferrous Gluconate
    • Capsules (U.S.)
    • Elixir (U.S.)
    • Syrup (Canada)
    • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)
    • Extended-release tablets (U.S.)
  • Ferrous Sulfate
    • Capsules (U.S.)
    • Extended-release capsules (U.S.)
    • Oral solution (U.S.)
    • Syrup (U.S. and Canada)
    • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)
    • Delayed-release tablets (U.S. and Canada)
    • Extended-release tablets (U.S. and Canada)
  • Iron-Polysaccharide
    • Capsules (U.S.)
    • Oral solution (U.S.)
    • Tablets (U.S.)
  • Iron Dextran
    • Injection (U.S. and Canada)
  • Iron Sorbitol
    • Injection (Canada)
  • Iron Sucrose
    • Injection (U.S.)
  • Sodium Ferric Gluconate Complex
    • Injection (U.S.)

Importance of Diet

Iron is found in the diet in two forms - heme iron, which is well absorbed, and nonheme iron, which is poorly absorbed. The best dietary source of absorbable (heme) iron is lean red meat. Chicken, turkey, and fish are also sources of iron, but they contain less than red meat. Cereals, beans, and some vegetables contain poorly absorbed (nonheme) iron. Foods rich in vitamin C (e.g., citrus fruits and fresh vegetables), eaten with small amounts of heme iron-containing foods, such as meat, may increase the amount of nonheme iron absorbed from cereals, beans, and other vegetables. Some foods (e.g., milk, eggs, spinach, fiber-containing, coffee, tea) may decrease the amount of nonheme iron absorbed from foods. Additional iron may be added to food from cooking in iron pots.

The daily amount of iron needed is defined in several different ways.

    For U.S. -
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) are the amount of vitamins and minerals needed to provide for adequate nutrition in most healthy persons. RDAs for a given nutrient may vary depending on a person's age, sex, and physical condition (e.g., pregnancy).
  • Daily Values (DVs) are used on food and dietary supplement labels to indicate the percent of the recommended daily amount of each nutrient that a serving provides. DV replaces the previous designation of United States Recommended Daily Allowances (USRDAs).
    For Canada -
  • Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNIs) are used to determine the amounts of vitamins, minerals, and protein needed to provide adequate nutrition and lessen the risk of chronic disease.

Normal daily recommended intakes in milligrams (mg) for iron are generally defined as follows (Note that the RDA and RNI are expressed as an actual amount of iron, which is referred to as ´┐Żelemental´┐Ż" iron. The product form [e.g., ferrous fumarate, ferrous gluconate, ferrous sulfate] has a different strength):

Persons U.S.
Infants and children
Birth to 3 years of age
6-10 0.3-6
4 to 6 years of age 10 8
7 to 10 years of age 10 8-10
Adolescent and adult males 10 8-10
Adolescent and adult females 10-15 8-13
Pregnant females 30 17-22
Breast-feeding females 15 8-13

Brand Names

Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S. -

  • DexFerrum 4
  • Femiron 1
  • Feosol Caplets 3
  • Feosol Tablets 3
  • Feostat 1
  • Feostat Drops 1
  • Feratab 3
  • Fer-gen-sol 3
  • Fergon 2
  • Fer-In-Sol Drops 3
  • Fer-In-Sol Syrup 3
  • Fer-Iron Drops 3
  • Fero-Gradumet 3
  • Ferospace 3
  • Ferralet 2
  • Ferralet Slow Release 2
  • Ferralyn Lanacaps 3
  • Ferra-TD 3
  • Ferretts 1
  • Ferrlecit 8
  • Fumasorb 1
  • Fumerin 1
  • Hemocyte 1
  • Hytinic 5
  • InFeD 4
  • Ircon 1
  • Mol-Iron 3
  • Nephro-Fer 1
  • Niferex 5
  • Niferex-150 5
  • Nu-Iron 5
  • Nu-Iron 150 5
  • Simron 2
  • Slow Fe 3
  • Span-FF 1
  • Venofer 7

In Canada -

  • Apo-Ferrous Gluconate 2
  • Apo-Ferrous Sulfate 3
  • DexIron 4
  • Fer-In-Sol Drops 3
  • Fer-In-Sol Syrup 3
  • Ferodan Infant Drops 3
  • Ferodan Syrup 3
  • Fertinic 2
  • Jectofer 6
  • Neo-Fer 1
  • Novofumar 1
  • Palafer 1
  • Slow Fe 3


For quick reference, the following iron supplements are numbered to match the corresponding brand names.

This information applies to the following:
1. Ferrous Fumarate (FER-us FYOO-ma-rate)‡
2. Ferrous Gluconate (FER-us GLOO-koe-nate)‡§
3. Ferrous Sulfate (FER-us SUL-fate)‡§
4. Iron Dextran (DEX-tran)
5. Iron-Polysaccharide (pol-i-SAK-a-ride)†
6. Iron Sorbitol (SOR-bi-tole)*
7. IronSucrose (SU-crose)†
8. Sodium Ferric Gluconate (SO-dee-umFAIR-ic GLU-con-ate)
* Not commercially available in the U.S.
† Not commercially available in Canada
‡ Generic name product may be available in the U.S.
§ Generic name product may be available in Canada


Next section


Iron Supplements: Before Using

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