Study: Low-dose iron better for anemic elderly

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Low-dose iron therapy works better than higher doses for treating anemia in the elderly. It works just as well as doses 10 times stronger but without the same chance of adverse side effects, a new study reports.

Researchers examined 90 patients over the age of 80. They found that regardless of the iron dose given, the increase in hemoglobin levels over 60 days was nearly the same, according to the study report.

Conversely, adverse effects were significantly more common with higher iron doses, according to researchers, who were led by Dr. Ephraim Rimon, from the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, Israel.  The main side effects reported included abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, changes in bowel movements and black stools.

Results of the study are published in the American Journal of Medicine.