Survey: Patients have hard time tolerating iron supplements

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — According to new research commissioned by Nelson, of the most commonly recommended vitamins and minerals, patients have the hardest time tolerating iron. 

Researchers from Market Dynamics surveyed 300 U.S. healthcare professionals including physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and dieticians/nutritionists to learn more about their patient conversations around vitamin and mineral supplements. Among the findings — iron led the way in patient complaints. 

One-in-two healthcare professionals (48%) indicated that patients "regularly" complained about the side effects from iron. These professionals heard iron complaints at roughly double the rate they did for seven other common supplements, including calcium (28%), vitamin D (27%) and potassium (20%). 

Most healthcare professionals (87%) agreed that consumers have a problem taking OTC iron supplements. Nearly 1-in-4 healthcare professionals indicated that at least half their patients who should be taking iron supplements aren't due to the side effects. 

Overall, healthcare providers were mostly likely to speak with pregnant women (47%), seniors (45%), vegetarians (38%) and menopausal women (35%) about iron deficiencies and supplements.

Nelsons manufactures Spatone pur-Absorb Iron, an iron supplement with a clinically proven absorption rate of more than 40%. Because pur-Absorb is more readily absorbed by the body, it can be taken in lower dosages, causing fewer reports of side effects among patients, Nelsons noted. 

The Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Survey was fielded between June 11 and July 11.

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