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Kidney Disease: Taking Iron for Anemia

Your body needs plenty of iron to make red blood cells. Because of this, most people who take epoetin alfa (EPO) need extra iron. EPO is the injection that people with kidney disease take to boost their red blood cells. Iron can be given in pill form or by IV (intravenous). Some people receive it both ways.

Take iron as directed

If you take iron pills, follow these tips:

  • Take iron pills as often as directed. Don't skip doses.

  • Take iron between meals if you use phosphate binders at mealtime. If taken together, the iron can get caught by the binder. It won't be absorbed if that happens. 

  • Eat high-fiber foods to help control constipation. Fresh fruits and vegetables that are low in potassium make good choices.

  • Ask your healthcare provider about using a stool softener if constipation becomes a frequent problem.

  • Talk with your healthcare provider if you start to have stomach or digestive upset.

  • Iron pills can make your stools dark or black. This doesn't mean there's something wrong.

  • Contact your provider if you have any questions or concerns.

Woman eating salad.
If you take iron pills, you may need extra fiber in your diet to prevent constipation. Good sources of fiber include fresh foods that are low in potassium.

Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Walead Latif MD
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2022
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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