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Am allergic to sulfa drugs, diagnosed as iron deficient. What can I take?

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Practicing since : 2006
Answered : 2015 Questions
Iam allergic to sulfa drugs diagnosed as iron deficient (red blood cells 66% normal size) took ferrous sulfate IV faraheme had severe allergic reaction tried ferrous sulfate by mouth contiued with hives difficulty breathing swelling etc... what kind of iron CAN I take
Posted Thu, 7 Mar 2013 in Asthma and Allergy
Answered by Dr. Kalpana Pathak 1 hour later
Thanks for writing to us.
Kindly make it a point not to take any drug having sulphur component as next exposure to it can be life threatening. Always make it a point to let your health care provider know that you are allergic to sulpha drugs. It was a big mistake to take ferrous sulphate when you knew about your drug allergy.

The supplements that you can take is
Oral- ferrous fumarate or ferrous gluconate
Injectable- iron sucrose, ferric gluconate in sucrose or iron dextran( not preferred as side effects are more), iron sorbitol citric acid complex etc.

So you can see you have many choice. Next time please be cautious with the supplement you take. Always let your doctor know about your drug allergies as sometimes these can cause life threatening situations. Your doctor would help you choose a right supplement.

Hope that helps.

PS Should there be any query, feel free to write back.
Should there be no further question, we may close the discussion.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Am allergic to sulfa drugs, diagnosed as iron deficient. What can I take? 3 hours later
thank you for your response i think you may have misunderstood. i DID tell my Dr. and the hospital I was allergic to sulfa before they administered the faraheme injection. the ferrous sulfate i took was the same as in the iv not just in the supplement. not that it matters now but obviously they did not listen to me or take it seriously. maybe their education about drugs is not as good as yours all you can do is tell them. i trusted my dr. did not go out on my own. i will see her again what about reactions to ferrous fumerate i know there are less G.I. issues and you can be allergic to anything have studied extensively and understand the components of fumarate lecithin mushrooms etc is it less likely for reaction have never had problems with these products? Irealize you are not my primary care dr. just need an educated listening opinion Thank you in advance XXXXXXX oaks
Answered by Dr. Kalpana Pathak 10 hours later
Thanks for writing back.
In no way I meant to offend you or your doctor! If I have, I apologise for the same.
Let me be more clear with my response
sulfur allergy includes sulfa drug allergy, sulfate allergy and sulphite allergy. Many people just have sulfa allergy without any sulfate allergy or sulphite allergy but some may have both. Hence if a person is allergic to sulfa drug most of the doctors do not consider the patient to have sulfate allergy too. But some doctors prefer to give any sulfate drug with caution as chances of cross sensitivity even if very small is there.
I am a bit towards cautious side.
On your part, you were completely right in informing your health care provider about your allergy. Whatever was suggested by your doctor must have been prescribed in best of your interest. Your doctor gave you ferrous sulfate as its not considered as a sulfa drug and hence might not have thought that it could cause allergy.
Now you should keep this in mind that you have sulfa as well as sulfate allergy.

Iron preparations usually cause gastrointestinal upset( diarrhoea, constipation), nausea, vomiting, black stools. These are commonly observed side effects with iron esp when iron is taken empty stomach and hence if somebody has too much of such side effects it should be taken with meals. Iron supplements should not be taken with milk, antacid and calcium as these decrease efficacy of iron. Taking of orange juice or vitamin c improves its absorption.
But development of itchy skin rashes or blisters or purpuric skin lesions or hives with lip swelling or respiratory distress points towards allergy and can be serious if the drug you are allergic to is taken again.

As you had allergies with ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate would be a good choice as it also has chances of lesser gastrointestinal side effects.

You may discuss with your doctor regarding its use as an iron supplement in your case.

Hope that answers your query. Please feel free to write back, if there is any other doubt.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Am allergic to sulfa drugs, diagnosed as iron deficient. What can I take? 11 hours later
dr. pathak wish you were my dr. maybe you won,t say but what state are you in? i know my dr was not trying to hurt me even my pharmacist and friend told me sulfa and sulfate were not in same family maybe not but after what happened to me i realized quickly i could NOT take sulfate either even refused 2nd injection on Sat am My dr,s office was closed The administer of iv was only a technician not a Dr. God gives us wisdom. we know our bodies better than anyone besides him.this will be my last question this time is there a way in the future i can contact you again instead of another Dr online. question is because i have allergy issues (fair skinned red head) what do you think of heme iron polypeptide HIP brand proferrin ES based in Colorado(bio labs inc.) you could look on internet for info. IF you need to. I believe it is derived from cow/calf iron am not a meat eater but desperately need the iron. I have to take morphine and it is constipating plus I just XXXXXXX t like meat willing to eat and am trying hard to get better been in bed 6 years. seems it would be the most natural since most people do not have meat allergies and a pill should not cause constipation such as eating meat. always susceptible to being wrong so is everyone else wish God would put it in NEON! LOL thank you for your forthrightness and your humility. with great respect XXXXXXX
Answered by Dr. Kalpana Pathak 13 hours later
As far as any allergy or skin issues are concerned you can put forth a query directly for me by using the link WWW.WWWW.WW

But if there is a query related to fibromyalgia,fatigue, diabetes or related to anemia, a physician would be in a better position to answer and for the same you can use" ask a specialist" feature of this website. Being a dermatologist, I wouldn't be able to answer your queries with utmost perfection.

As far as iron supplement is concerned, heme iron polypeptide has lesser Gastrointestinal side effects with lesser chances of constipation and better absorption and availability, so you can go ahead with the supplement. But still I would advise you to have a word with your doctor prior to starting any medicine or supplement as he/ she might be having a better insight of your clinical history and treatment required.

Wishing you a speedy recovery and hope that you do not develop any allergies with medicines in future.
God bless.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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