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ment of most of the small intestine explains why much of the iron taken by mouth is not absorbed, even in severe iron deficiency.

Interactions. Iron chelates in the gut with tetracyclines, penicillamine, methyldopa, levodopa, carbidopa, ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin and ofloxacin; it also forms stable complexes with thyroxine, captopril and biphosphonates. These interactions can be clinically important. Ingestion should be separated by 3 hours.

Ascorbic acid increases absorption (see above) but its use (200 mg/day) is not clinically important in routine therapy; desferrioxamine binds iron and reduces absorption (see Poisoning, below); tea (tannins) and bran reduce absorption.

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