Management of side effects

The following table outlines the potential side effects of oral iron therapy and the strategies that can be used to manage them.

Side effect
Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhoea
Note: black discolouration of faeces is an expected occurrence
Take with or shortly after food or at night
Start at a low dose and gradually increase
Give in smaller doses – either intermediate dose tablets or intermittent dosing (eg, second daily to weekly)
Side effect
Black discolouration of teeth with liquid iron
Dilute with water and drink through a straw
Brushing teeth with baking soda or peroxide may reduce discolouration


  1. Pasricha SR, Flecknoe-Brown SC, Allen KJ, Gibson PR, McMahon LP, Olynyk JK, et al. Diagnosis and management of iron deficiency anaemia: a clinical update. MJA 2010;193:525–532. Available from:
  2. Australian Medicines Handbook. Adelaide: Australian Medicines Handbook Pty Ltd, 2016.


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