Ferrous sulfate is most commonly used to treat iron-deficiency anemia. This condition is the result of having too little iron in the body and is indicated by a low red blood cell count, according to Drugs.com.
Ferrous sulfate is an essential mineral and type of iron. The human body normally gets iron from foods, and the iron becomes a part of red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen through the blood to tissues and organs and help muscle cells store oxygen. Supplementing with ferrous sulfate ensures a healthy level of red blood cells in the body, explains Drugs.com. It is typically prescribed along with a special diet to address iron deficiencies.
Side effects from ferrous sulfate may include constipation, upset stomach, black or dark-colored stools, and temporary staining of the teeth, according to Drugs.com. Certain individuals, including alcoholics, should not take ferrous sulfate. An individual who experiences signs of an allergic reaction, including hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat, is advised to seek emergency care.
Drugs.com warns that an overdose of iron can be fatal, especially in a young child. Symptoms of an overdose may include severe stomach pain, nausea, bloody diarrhea, shallow breathing, and convulsions. Blue lips, pale skin and a weak but rapid pulse can also be symptoms of a ferrous sulfate overdose.