Iron is an essential element in the human body and responsible for many functions; most importantly, for transporting oxygen in the blood throughout the body. Iron supplements are commonly used to treat various medical conditions associated with low iron levels. The most common reasons for low iron include not eating enough iron-rich foods, issues with iron absorption, and chronic blood loss.
There are many different types of iron supplements recommended by health care professionals that are available in all pharmacies. Iron supplement dosage can vary greatly; however, all products include the same warnings regarding potential interactions with other drugs.
Iron binds to certain drugs, including calcium products, some antibiotics such as tetracycline and ciprofloxacin, and thyroid medications, preventing them from working effectively. Other examples of potential interactions do exist, so it’s important to talk to your pharmacist and advise them of all other prescription drugs and supplements you are taking.
When using iron products, you should take them on an empty stomach with a glass of water or fruit juice to increase absorption. Avoid drinking milk or eating dairy products at the same time and take the supplement with food if it causes stomach issues. If you are taking any prescription drugs known to interact with iron, make sure to take them 1-2 hours apart to minimize potential interactions.
Always speak to your pharmacist for information and advice if you are planning on using iron supplements while taking other prescription drugs.
ASEBP’s Extended Health Care covers several iron products, administered by injection, if prescribed by your health care provider. If you have a Wellness Spending Account (WSA), you can claim iron supplements with a Natural Product Number (NPN) printed on the label. Find more information about eligible WSA expenses or contact a benefit specialist.
And don’t forget that ASEBP’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provides you with access to four cost-free hours of health coaching each calendar year. Schedule a session for ideas on how to incorporate more iron-rich foods into your meals.