This leaflet is about the use of ferrous fumarate, which is a form of iron, for the prevention or treatment of iron-deficiency anaemia.
This leaflet has been written specifically for parents and carers about the use of this medicine in children. The information may differ from that provided by the manufacturer. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.
Do not give ferrous fumarate to your child unless a doctor has told you to. If your child’s anaemia is not due to an iron deficiency, they could end up with too much iron, which can be dangerous.
Brand names: Fersaday®, Fersamal®, Galfer®
Anaemia is a blood condition where there is a lack of a protein called haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is needed to carry oxygen in the blood and transport it around the body. Children with anaemia are often pale, feel tired, have little energy, and may not grow or develop properly.
Ferrous fumarate is a form of iron that can be taken by mouth. It helps the body to make more haemoglobin and so treat the anaemia. It can also be used to prevent anaemia in children who are at risk of it or, for example, before surgery.
This depends on whether it is being used to prevent or treat anaemia. Your doctor will tell you how often to give ferrous fumarate.
Give the medicine at about the same time(s) each day so that this becomes part of your child’s daily routine, which will help you to remember.
Your doctor will work out the amount of ferrous fumarate (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.
It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.
Tablets should be swallowed with a glass of water or juice, but not milk. Your child should not chew the tablet. Do not crush the tablets.
Capsules should be swallowed with a glass of water or juice, but not milk. Your child should not chew the capsule.
Liquid medicine: Shake the bottle well and measure out the right amount using an oral syringe or medicine spoon. You can get these from your pharmacist. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give the right amount.
Ferrous fumarate works best when given on an empty stomach. Try to give it 30 minutes before or 2 hours after food. However, if this upsets your child’s stomach, give it with a little food.
Ferrous fumarate takes some time to work.
If it is being used to treat anaemia, you might notice an improvement in your child when they have been taking the medicine for 3–4 weeks. They may be less pale, have more energy and have less shortness of breath. Your child will need to take ferrous fumarate regularly for at least 3 months for it to have its full benefits.
If your child is taking ferrous fumarate to prevent anaemia, you will not see any difference in your child, but the medicine will still be working to improve your child’s levels of iron and stop them getting anaemia.
Never give a double dose of ferrous fumarate. If you are not sure whether to give a missed dose, don’t give it. Giving an extra dose of ferrous fumarate by mistake is more likely to do harm than missing a dose.
It may be dangerous to give too much ferrous fumarate. Never give your child more than the doctor has advised.
If your child has one or more of the following symptoms, they may have had too much ferrous fumarate:
Children who have had too much ferrous fumarate might not show any symptoms, or only have mild symptoms. If you think your child has had too much ferrous fumarate, contact your doctor or NHS Direct (0845 4647 in England and Wales; 08454 24 24 24 in Scotland) or take your child to hospital.
If your child appears very unwell or drowsy call for an ambulance straight away.
Take the medicine container or packaging with you, even if it is empty. This will be useful to the doctor. Have the medicine or packaging with you if you telephone for advice.
We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side-effects).
If these side-effects are a problem or do not wear off, contact your doctor or pharmacist, as they may suggest a different iron preparation or a lower dose. Do not reduce the dose without discussing it with your doctor first.
There may, sometimes, be other side-effects that are not listed above. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor.
Keep ferrous fumarate out of the reach of young children.
If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact your doctor straight away.
Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse will be able to give you more information about ferrous fumarate and about other medicines used to prevent or treat iron-deficiency anaemia.
Version 1, June 2012. © NPPG, RCPCH and WellChild 2011, all rights reserved. Reviewed by: June 2015.
The primary source for the information in this leaflet is the British National Formulary for Children. For details on any other sources used for this leaflet, please contact us through our website, www.medicinesforchildren.org.uk.
We take great care to make sure that the information in this leaflet is correct and up-to-date. However, medicines can be used in different ways for different patients. It is important that you ask the advice of your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure about something. This leaflet is about the use of these medicines in the UK, and may not apply to other countries. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG), WellChild and the contributors and editors cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of information, omissions of information, or any actions that may be taken as a consequence of reading this leaflet.