Iron poisoning Treatment, Drugs, Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Iron is a mineral easily available as over the counter supply. Iron poisoning is basically an iron overload brought forth by excessive intake of iron either accidentally or intentionally. In most cases, iron poisoning happens to small children who consume iron supplement pills in large quantities accidentally. Iron supplements are widely used especially by pregnant and anemic individuals and their resemblance to candy has been tempting to children.

Iron poisoning Drugs

  • Jadenu oral
  • Ferriprox oral
  • Deferiprone oral
  • Deferasirox oral
  • Exjade oral
  • Desferal injection
  • Deferasirox oral
  • Deferoxamine injection

Iron poisoning Symptoms

Knowing the symptoms of iron poisoning can be of help as early detection can enhance easy and early treatment. Additionally, iron poisoning symptoms may disappear a few hours then come back in a day or later. It is, however, important to consult a doctor if you suspect any cases of iron poisoning so as to receive the appropriate treatment early. Some of the mild and serious symptoms of iron poisoning include the following.

  • Drowsiness
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Lack of desire to do anything
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloody vomiting
  • Hypovolemic shock
  • Bloody or black stool
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Liver damage
  • Dehydration
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fast or weak pulse
  • Chills
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Loss of color from the skin
  • Bluish colored lips and finger nails

Iron poisoning Causes

Iron poisoning is one of the leading causes of poisoning deaths in young children aged below six years. This has particularly been due their resemblance to sweets or candy hence tempting the children. Below is a list of causes of iron poisoning.

  • Iron poisoning is brought about by excessive consumption of iron either by accident or intentionally. Because iron supplements are often given to pregnant individuals, young children have been tempted due to their resemblance to sweets. This leads to excessive consumption which can be fatal if not treated early.
  • Iron poisoning may also develop chronically, particularly in patients requiring a number of red blood cells transfusions. It develops in patients with sickle cell disease, thalassemia and myelodysplastic syndromes.

Iron poisoning Diagnosis

A doctor will measure and monitor the vital signs of a patient, including breathing rate, pulse, temperature and blood pressure. Below are some other diagnosis tests that may be carried out to diagnose iron poisoning:

  • Blood sample tests to check iron levels
  • Endoscopy: this involves inserting a camera and a tube down the throat to see the esophagus and the stomach and remove the pills.
  • Ingestion of fluids through a vein
  • Deferoxamine: medication to help get rid of the iron from the body.
  • Gastric lavage: this involves putting a tube through the mouth into the stomach to empty its contents.
  • X-ray to see to it that all iron tablets have been removed from the stomach

Iron poisoning Treatment

The faster an individual receives treatment for iron poisoning the better their chances of survival. Some people have died even a week after the overdose. It is also advisable to restrain from making the child vomit using water or gagging. Treatment for iron poisoning involves the methods listed below:

  • Remove the iron supplements by checking the child’s hands and mouth for any remaining iron tablets.
  • Pumping the stomach within an hour of swallowing the pills may be helpful
  • Cleaning the iron from the blood through the use of a chelating agent such as deferoxamine
  • Dialysis is also undertaken to treat iron poisoning
  • Laxatives can also help clear the iron from the intestines.