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Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA)



Anaemia due to deficiency of iron. Common causes of iron deficiency are chronic blood loss or poor nutritional intake. A common cause of anaemia in younger children and women of childbearing age. A full blood count showing a low MCV suggests the diagnosis of iron deficiency anaemia.


Iron deficiency anaemia in children > 5 years of age, adult males and no menstruating women, is generally due to occult or overt blood loss

Risk Factors

Signs and symptoms

Diagnostic criteria



  • Non-pharmacological

    General Measures

    • Identify and treat the cause. Exclude other causes.
    • Lifestyle and dietary adjustment.

    Dietary advice:

    • Avoid drinking tea/coffee with meals
    • Increase vitamin C intake (e.g. citrus fruit, orange juice, broccoli, cauliflower, guavas, and strawberries) with meals to maintain iron in its reduced state
    • Increase dietary intake of iron rich foods like liver, kidney, beef, dried beans and peas, green leafy vegetables, fortified wholegrain breads and cereals
  • Pharmacological

    Children < 5 years of age:

    Iron 1–2 mg/kg/dose of elemental iron (PO) 8 hourly with meals

    • Follow-up Hb after 14 days.
    • If Hb is lower than before, refer.
    • If Hb is the same/higher, continue treatment and repeat after another 28 days.
    • Continue treatment for 3 months after Hb normalises


    Ferrous sulphate compound BPC (PO) 170 mg (± 65 mg elemental iron) 8 hourly with food.


    Ferrous fumarate (PO) 200 mg (± 65 mg elemental iron) 8 hourly with food

    o Follow up at monthly intervals
    o The expected response is an increase in Hb of ≥ 2 g/dL in 4 weeks.
    o Continue for 3–6 months after the Hb normalises in order to replenish body iron stores.
    o Do not take iron tablets within 4 hours of taking calcium tablets.

    Pregnant women: (See Anaemia in pregnancy)

    Prophylaxis Infants from 6 weeks: If < 2.5 kg at birth:

    • Ferrous lactate (PO) 0.3 mL daily until 6 months of age.
    • Ferrous gluconate syrup (PO) 0.8 mL daily until 6 months of age.
    During pregnancy:
    • Ferrous sulphate compound BPC (PO)170 mg (± 65 mg elemental iron), 12 hourly.


Updated on,

20 Novemba 2020 10:00:35


    1. STG
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