Ferrous sulfate is used to treat iron deficiency anemia. It is used as a medicine to give the body the iron needed to make red blood cells.
People who may be in need of ferrous sulfate supplementation include pregnant women, people who have lost a lot of blood, and people who have other medical conditions that put them at risk of anemia.
Ferrous sulfate is taken orally and comes in tablets, capsules and liquid. It is taken on an empty stomach and taken three times a day: before breakfast, lunch and dinner. Usually, the symptoms of anemia improve after a few days of taking ferrous sulfate, but people who are severely anemic may have to take the medication for as long as six months. The medication is more effective if it is taken with foods that are rich in iron, such as fish, organ meats and fortified breads and cereals.
The side effects of ferrous sulfate are dark stools, which are harmless, and stained teeth. Tooth staining is why the patient should take the medication with water or fruit juice. Stains usually respond to cleaning with baking soda. The patient should also be careful to keep her appointments with her medical team. Her blood needs to be checked from time to time to see how the medication is working.