Friday, 19 July 2013

Can Iron pills make schoolchildren ill?

Yesterday  21 kids had to be rushed to hospitals across Delhi after they were given iron and folic acid tablets during a government drive against anaemia.

The children, aged 9 to 17, had severe stomach ache, nausea and vomiting

Govt. defense

1.         These are common side-effect found in 1% of cases.
2.          Around 18 lakh pills were administered.
3.         Around 200 students took ill across the city but most of them did not need hospitalization.
4.          Pills were given under a central scheme launched on Monday. 
5.         Delhi government is following the guidelines laid down by the Union health ministry and the drugs are formulated as per government of India's specification which is in use countrywide. 
6.         The drugs provided under the programme were manufactured in June 2013 with expiry date in May 2015 and the drugs have been pre-tested at a government-approved laboratory.
7.          About 56% of Indian girls and 30% of boys suffer from anaemia, primarily a deficiency of essential micronutrients because of poor nutrition. As part of the government programme, around 100mg of elemental iron and 500mg of folic acid would be given to boys and girls. They would also be screened for anaemia.

eMedinews Comments

1.         Estimates are that up to 50 percent of patients complain of nausea, constipation, diarrhea, epigastric distress and/or vomiting after taking various oral iron preparations.
2.         100 mg dose in children may be high as the first dose
3.         In any way police will investigate about the equality of iron pill

Treatment options for such patients:

1. The patient may take an iron preparation containing a smaller dose of elemental iron
2. Or switch over from ferrous sulfate to ferrous gluconate
3. Or switch from a tablet to a liquid preparation, the dose of which (44 mg elemental iron per 5 mL) can be easily titrated
     by the patient
4. Patient may slowly increase the dose
5. The iron may be taken with meals, although this will decrease absorption somewhat.

1 comment:

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