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Acad Emerg Med. 1998 Oct;5(10):961-5.

Effect of magnesium hydroxide on iron absorption following simulated mild iron overdose in human subjects.

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  • 1Department of Medical Toxicology, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ, USA.



To determine the effect of oral magnesium hydroxide [Mg(OH)2] on iron absorption after simulated iron overdose in human subjects.


A randomized, controlled crossover study was conducted in healthy adult male human volunteers taking no medications. Subjects received an average of 5.0 mg/kg elemental iron orally followed 1 hour later by either oral administration of 4.5 g of Mg(OH)2 per g ingested elemental iron or no treatment. Serial serum specimens were obtained over the 12 hours following iron ingestion and stored at -60 degrees C until standard serum iron assay was performed. After a 2-week washout period, the subjects were enrolled in the alternative trial arm. Individual baseline diurnal variation in serum iron levels was determined over a 12-hour period on the day prior to each trial. Area under time-concentration curves (AUCs) were calculated, and the AUC due to experimental iron ingestion (deltaAUC) was determined by subtracting the baseline diurnal AUC from the experimental AUC for each subject.


Thirteen healthy adult male subjects were enrolled. Mean +/- SEM for deltaAUC due to experimental iron ingestion followed by treatment with Mg(OH)2, 78 +/- 23 micromol(hr)/L, was significantly less than that followed by no treatment, 144 +/- 33 micromol(hr)/L (p = 0.03 by signed rank test).


Magnesium hydroxide, administered 1 hour post-iron ingestion at an oral dose of 4.5 g per g elemental iron ingested, significantly reduced iron absorption during a 12-hour period following simulated mild iron overdose in healthy adult human volunteers.

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