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How to Treat Iron Toxicity

by
author image Erica Roth
Erica Roth has been a writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Her articles appear on various websites.
How to Treat Iron Toxicity
How to Treat Iron Toxicity Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Iron is a nutrient that most people get from their diets. Iron supplements may be prescribed for medical conditions such as anemia and celiac disease. People who use iron supplements should take care and use the mineral only as directed to avoid an accidental overdose. Those who have taken too much iron or have a sensitivity to the supplement so that even moderate amounts lead to overload, need to be treated for iron toxicity. Iron toxicity can lead to liver failure if not treated.

Step 1

Recognize the symptoms of an iron overdose and go to an emergency room or other medical facility immediately. People who suffer from iron toxicity usually begin to throw up, have diarrhea and stomach pain and become irritable within 6 hours of taking too much iron. If not treated at this point, a person who has overdosed on iron may lose consciousness, experience a dangerous drop in blood pressure and develop a fever.

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Step 2

Undergo a procedure called a whole-bowel irrigation. The "Merck Manual" explains that your stomach may retain iron even after you have vomited, which can be dangerous to your health. Removing the iron with a substance called "polyethylene glycol" may be required. Depending on your condition, you will either drink the chemical, or it will be introduced to your digestive system through a stomach tube.

Step 3

Treat iron toxicity with a medication called deferoxamine. This drug is given by injection and adheres itself to the iron that is still in your body. You excrete the toxic compound when you urinate. Dosages vary by weight, according to the Mayo Clinic, and may be given several times a day if your condition warrants additional doses.

Step 4

Give samples of your blood and urine during your treatment for iron toxicity. Your bodily fluids will be tested to determine your iron levels and to make sure the medications are doing their job.

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