Application of Folic Acid

Brand Name(s): Folvite

Generic Name Folic Acid

What are folic acid tablets?

FOLIC ACID (Folate, Vitamin B9) is a B-complex vitamin that occurs naturally in such foods as yeast, liver, kidneys, and leafy, green vegetables. Folic acid is essential to the development of healthy blood cells, nerve cells, and proteins in the body. As a nutritional supplement folic acid treats or prevents folic acid deficiency and certain types of anemia. It helps treat tropical sprue, a condition sometimes seen in people who travel to tropical climates, in which food nutrients are not properly absorbed. There is also increasing evidence that some birth defects (neural tube defects or spina bifida) are related to lack of folic acid. These may be prevented if the mother has enough folic acid before and during her pregnancy. Generic folic acid tablets are available. Some multivitamin products for use as dietary supplements contain small amounts of folic acid.

What should my health care professional know before I take folic acid?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • pernicious anemia
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to folic acid, other B vitamins, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

How should I take this medicine?

Take folic acid tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets whole with a glass of water. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, and are taking folic acid as a dietary supplement, skip the missed dose. If you are being treated for anemia and miss a dose there is no cause for concern, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What drug(s) may interact with folic acid?

  • chloramphenicol
  • cholestyramine
  • methotrexate
  • phenytoin
  • pyrimethamine
  • triamterene
  • trimethoprim

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking folic acid?

Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin and when taken at prescribed doses is unlikely to cause side effects in patients with healthy kidneys. Side effects may be caused by an allergy to folic acid.

Possible side effects with folic acid include:

  • chest tightness or pain
  • depression
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea, vomiting
  • skin rash, redness and itching
  • wheezing or shortness of breath

What should I watch for while taking folic acid?

Make sure you have a proper diet. Taking vitamin supplements is not a substitute for a healthy diet. Foods that contain folic acid include: whole grains/cereals, fruits, beans, leafy green vegetables, organ meats (liver, kidney), and potatoes. Be sure to include some of these in your diet each day. Note that folic acid is destroyed by overcooking or canning.

There is no scientific evidence to support claims that large doses of B vitamins prevent certain mental disorders. Treating yourself with large doses of folic acid can be unsafe. Do not treat yourself without your prescriber's advice.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). Protect from light. Folic acid is quickly broken down and made inactive when exposed to heat or light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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