Anemia and Iron Supplementation

A patient had some blood loss during a surgery – very common. The patient’s hemoglobin dropped from about 12.5 to 9.8 and the prescriber wanted to improve that hemoglobin back to baseline prior to the blood loss. Iron is a necessary component in the formation of red blood cells and often supplemented following blood loss to ensure adequate iron stores for red blood cell production. This particular patient was told to go pick up some iron at the pharmacy and take it twice daily. The patient did just what they were told and went and got the iron and continued to take it indefinitely even though they did not require iron before the surgery. Upon yearly hemoglobin checks, they certainly were not anemic. In this patient long-term iron was not necessary as dietary intake was adequate and anemia had resolved via CBC checks and absent clinical symptoms. In this patient, iron supplementation should’ve been reassessed and discontinued much sooner saving on potential drug interactions, side effects, and financial considerations, but the patient was simply doing what they were told.

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Written By Eric Christianson

April 20, 2014

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