Carbonyl iron is a dietary supplement given to patients with depleted levels of iron in the blood. In most cases, people get enough iron from the foods they eat, and some mild cases of iron anemia can be treated through diet. If a patient cannot increase iron levels through diet, a doctor may prescribe an iron supplement such as carbonyl iron for a set length of time in order to increase iron levels.
The most common use for this supplement is to replenish iron levels in a person's bloodstream. Patients with iron-deficiency anemia may experience severe and chronic fatigue, and children with the condition can have stunted growth. The patient needs enough iron in the diet to allow iron levels can return to normal, as the condition is not self-correcting. If carbonyl iron is be used to bring iron levels up to normal, the patient can stop taking it once the iron has been replenished, usually after a period of a few months.
It is also common for a patient to receive carbonyl iron as a supplement during pregnancy. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding often have low levels of iron in their blood stream. Though the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not done any formal studies on the use of iron in women who are pregnant, the supplement is commonly given and does not appear to have any adverse effects on fetal development. The use of carbonyl iron does not affect the levels of iron in the breast milk and is safe for women to take while nursing a baby.
In some cases, a doctor may prescribe carbonyl iron to prevent a loss of iron. Patients with certain medical conditions or who are taking certain medications may experience a loss of iron. These patients may be given an iron supplement as a precaution.
In all cases, it is important to take carbonyl iron exactly as directed by a doctor. Overdose of the supplement can be dangerous and can even lead to death. There are a number of medications with which it can interact, and a few medical conditions that contraindicate its use, so it is important for a patient to discuss the use of an iron supplement with a doctor. It is not common for a patient to remain on carbonyl iron supplement for extended periods of time, though use of the medication for six months or more is common.