Medications for Nutritional Anemia
by Michael Jubinville, MPH
The medicines below are used to treat anemia. Only the most basic problems are listed. Ask your doctor if there are any other steps you need to take. Use each of them as your doctor tells you. If you have any questions or can’t follow the package instructions, call your doctor.
Don't take any over-the-counter medicines without talking to your doctor first. They can interfere with others you may be taking.
You need vitamin B12 to make red blood cells (RBCs). It also helps your nervous system. If your intestines are not absorbing enough vitamin B12, you can get it as a shot. It's given each day, then over time it's lowered to once a month. You can also take it as a pill. But, it must be done each day.
Folic Acid (one milligram)
Many people are given folic acid to correct or prevent anemias. Folic acid at this dose is only given by prescription. Your doctor will have to test you to make sure it's safe for you to take it.
Low iron common in women. It can be replaced with a supplement. This will help boost iron when you need it. They're taken until iron levels return to normal. Common problems with iron pills are nausea, constipation, and black stools.
Supplements with any iron in them should be kept out of reach of all young children (especially those under 6 years old). Taking too much iron, even by accident, can lead to serious life-threatening health problems.
Folic Acid (less than one milligram)
Small doses of folic acid can be found with other vitamins and supplements without a prescription.
If you are taking medicines:
Anemia. American Society of Hematology website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed October 15, 2018.
Anemia. National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/anemia. Accessed October 15, 2018.
Anemia—differential diagnosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated January 21, 2016. Accessed October 15, 2018.
Iron deficiency anemia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated August 16, 2018. Accessed October 15, 2018.
Overview of decreased erythropoiesis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology-and-oncology/anemias-caused-by-deficient-erythropoiesis/overview-of-decreased-erythropoiesis. Updated July 2018. Accessed October 15, 2018.
Treatment of iron deficiency anemia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated August 16, 2018. Accessed October 15, 2018.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 10/15/2018
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