Folic acid side effect

Folic Acid

Folic acid, or folate, is the chemical name for a vitamin also known as vitamin B9 or vitamin M, which doctors prescribe for anemia.

Folic acid is one of the eight vitamins in the vitamin-B complex.

Like all B vitamins, folic acid plays important role in maintaining the health of your nervous system and helping you process fats and carbohydrates.

Folic Acid in Foods

Certain cereals, breads, and leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, are high in folic acid.

Other good sources of folic acid include rice, pasta, and citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, lemons, and oranges.

Folic Acid Deficiency

Folic acid plays an important role in developing the spine and nervous system of a developing a baby before birth.

A woman who consumes less than 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid a day is more likely to bear a child with a brain, spine, or spinal cord defect, or a neural tube defect, than a woman who gets more.

Most daily prenatal vitamins contain 800 to 1,000 mcg of folic acid.

Folic Acid and Anemia

Lack of folic acid in your diet can cause anemia, or not enough red blood cells for good health.

Even if you are consuming enough folic acid, taking certain drugs can deplete it. These drugs include:

  • Methotrexate (Trexall, Rheumatrex)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or diclofenac
  • Many antibiotics
  • Diuretics or water pills
  • Certain ulcer medications
  • Exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon)

Folic Acid and Hair Growth

Since folic acid, like all B vitamins, is important for the growth of the cells that form hair, skin, and nails, having adequate levels of folic acid in your body may improve growth of these tissues.

Some data suggests that correcting folic acid levels might help reverse certain types of hair loss.

Many vitamins for supporting hair, skin, and nail growth contain folic acid.

Folic Acid Warnings

Please talk to your doctor before taking folic acid if you:

  • Have anemia or think that you might be anemic
  • Are allergic to folic acid or any component found in the supplement you’re considering taking

Pregnancy and Folic acid

Folic acid has different safety ratings for pregnancy, depending on the dose you are taking.

If you’re taking a folic acid in the amount recommended for your age and condition, the supplement is safe to take in pregnancy because it doesn’t cause any birth defects.

However, if you’re taking a higher amount of folic acid than is usually recommended for your age and condition, the supplement is not safe to take during pregnancy.

Folic acid is safe to take while you are breastfeeding.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

Generic Name: folic acid (FOE lik AS id)
Brand Names: FA-8, Folacin-800

Medically reviewed by Sophia Entringer, PharmD Last updated on Jan 4, 2019.

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What is folic acid?

Folic acid is a type of B vitamin that is normally found in foods such as dried beans, peas, lentils, oranges, whole-wheat products, liver, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and spinach.

Folic acid helps your body produce and maintain new cells, and also helps prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer.

As a medication, folic acid is used to treat folic acid deficiency and certain types of anemia (lack of red blood cells) caused by folic acid deficiency.

Folic acid is sometimes used in combination with other medications to treat pernicious, aplastic, or normocytic anemia. However it will not treat Vitamin B12 deficiency and will not prevent possible damage to the spinal cord. Take all of your medications as directed.

Important information

You should not use this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to folic acid.

Before you take folic acid, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis), an infection, if you are an alcoholic, or if you have any type of anemia that has not been diagnosed by a doctor and confirmed with laboratory testing.

Talk to your doctor about taking folic acid during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. Folic acid is sometimes used in combination with other medications to treat pernicious anemia. However, folic acid will not treat Vitamin B12 deficiency and will not prevent possible damage to the spinal cord. Take all of your medications as directed.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to folic acid.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use folic acid:

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • hemolytic anemia;

  • pernicious anemia;

  • anemia that has not been diagnosed by a doctor and confirmed with laboratory testing;

  • an infection; or

  • if you are an alcoholic.

FDA pregnancy category A. Folic acid is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby, and your dose needs may even increase while you are pregnant. Talk to your doctor about taking folic acid during pregnancy. Your dose needs may also be different if you are breast-feeding a baby. Ask your doctor about taking folic acid if you are breast-feeding.

How should I take folic acid?

Take folic acid exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take folic acid with a full glass of water.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

Store folic acid at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Overdose symptoms may include numbness or tingling, mouth or tongue pain, weakness, tired feeling confusion, or trouble concentrating.

What should I avoid?

Follow your doctor’s instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Folic acid side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to folic acid: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Less serious side effects are more likely, but may include:

  • flushing;

  • nausea, loss of appetite;

  • bloating, gas;

  • bitter or unpleasant taste in your mouth;

  • sleep problems;

  • depression; or

  • feeling excited or irritable.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Folic acid dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Megaloblastic Anemia:

1 mg orally, intramuscularly, subcutaneously or IV once a day. May continue until clinical symptoms of folate deficiency and the hematological profile have normalized.

Usual Adult Dose for Folic Acid Deficiency:

400 to 800 mcg orally, intramuscularly, subcutaneously or IV once a day.
Women of childbearing age, pregnant, and lactating women: 800 mcg orally, intramuscularly, subcutaneously or IV once a day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Folic Acid Deficiency:

Infant:
0.1 mg orally, intramuscularly, subcutaneously or IV once a day.
Child:
Initial dose: 1 mg orally, intramuscularly, subcutaneously or IV once a day.
Maintenance dose:
1 to 10 years: 0.1 to 0.4 mg orally, intramuscularly, subcutaneously or IV once a day.
> 10 years: 0.5 orally, intramuscularly, subcutaneously or IV once a day.

What other drugs will affect folic acid?

The dosages of other medications you take may need to be changed while you are taking folic acid.

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with folic acid. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use folic acid only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2020 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.01.

Medical Disclaimer

More about folic acid

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  • Drug class: vitamins

Consumer resources

  • Folic Acid Capsules and Tablets
  • Folic Acid Injection
  • Folic acid Oral, Injection (Advanced Reading)

Other brands: Folacin-800, FA-8

Professional resources

  • Folic Acid (AHFS Monograph)
  • … +3 more

Related treatment guides

  • Folic Acid Deficiency
  • Anemia, Megaloblastic
  • Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation and Deficiency

folic acid

Generic Name: folic acid

  • What is folic acid?
  • What are the possible side effects of folic acid?
  • What is the most important information I should know about folic acid?
  • What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking folic acid?
  • How should I take folic acid?
  • What happens if I miss a dose?
  • What happens if I overdose?
  • What should I avoid while taking folic acid?
  • What other drugs will affect folic acid?
  • Where can I get more information?

Folic acid is a type of B vitamin that is normally found in foods such as dried beans, peas, lentils, oranges, whole-wheat products, liver, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and spinach.

Folic acid helps your body produce and maintain new cells, and also helps prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer.

As a medication, folic acid is used to treat folic acid deficiency and certain types of anemia (lack of red blood cells) caused by folic acid deficiency.

Folic acid is sometimes used in combination with other medications to treat pernicious anemia. However, folic acid will not treat Vitamin B12 deficiency and will not prevent possible damage to the spinal cord. Take all of your medications as directed.

Folic acid may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

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Folic acid 1 mg 115340165

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Folic Acid 1 mg-SCH

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Folic Acid 1 mg-WAT

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What are the possible side effects of folic acid?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Less serious side effects are more likely, but may include:

  • nausea, loss of appetite;
  • bloating, gas;
  • bitter or unpleasant taste in your mouth;
  • sleep problems;
  • depression; or
  • feeling excited or irritable.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about folic acid?

You should not use this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to folic acid.

Before you take folic acid, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis), an infection, if you are an alcoholic, or if you have any type of anemia that has not been diagnosed by a doctor and confirmed with laboratory testing.

Talk to your doctor about taking folic acid during pregnancy or while breast-feeding.

Folic acid is sometimes used in combination with other medications to treat pernicious anemia. However, folic acid will not treat Vitamin B12 deficiency and will not prevent possible damage to the spinal cord. Take all of your medications as directed.

Pregnant women are often encouraged to supplement their folic acid intake to prevent birth defects, but too much may also carry risks, according to a new study which links excessive folate and vitamin B12 to a greater risk of autism in the child. But the findings come with important caveats.

Why it matters:

Pregnant women need adequate folate, a type of vitamin B, to promote healthy neurodevelopment of their babies. However, the effects of excessive folate haven’t been well-studied.

The nitty gritty:

From 1998 to 2013, researchers gathered data from nearly 1,400 mother-child pairs enrolled in the Boston Birth Cohort. The researchers asked women about their vitamin intake and measured their blood levels of folate and vitamin B12 after giving birth. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health subsequently analyzed that data and noted that mothers with excessive levels of these nutrients in their blood had a higher risk of their child developing autism. Women with more than four times the adequate amount of folate had double the risk, high B12 levels tripled the risk, and high levels of both increased the risk by 17.6 times. The findings were presented on Wednesday at the International Meeting for Autism Research.

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But keep in mind:

This research is being presented at a conference, so it hasn’t gone through peer review. That means its findings should be taken with a grain of salt.

Since the women in the study were predominantly from urban minority populations, generalizing the findings to a population level is tricky. Also, since folate levels in blood are not regularly measured in pregnant women, “we don’t at a population level know what the average amount of folic acid in a pregnant woman might be,” explained Dr. Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

What they’re saying:

While this study adds to our understanding, the medical evidence surrounding the relationship between folic acid and autism is still inconclusive, said Gordon Ramsay, assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine. Some studies have found a relationship between lower folic acid intake and risk of autism spectrum disorders, other studies found a relationship between higher folic acid intake and risk of the same. “The literature is completely inconsistent. … It means that we don’t know what the real story is,” he explained.

You’ll want to know:

Vitamins are still important during pregnancy. Researchers found that taking multivitamins three to five times a week during pregnancy was associated with a lower risk of autism.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women get at least 600 micrograms of folic acid daily from all sources. “Staying within the current parameters would be both prudent and important until we have more information to confirm these findings,” said Gyamfi-Bannerman.

The bottom line:

Consuming much more folate or vitamin B12 than the guidelines may be harmful to a developing fetus, but more studies will be needed to bear that out.

Folic Acid 1mg Tablets

Product Summary

This product requires a valid prescription for shipment, please note that HealthWarehouse.com may not accept prescriptions faxed or emailed by patients.
  • PRESCRIPTION REQUIRED

IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.

FOLIC ACID – ORAL

(FOE-lik AS-id)

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): FA-8

USES: Folic acid is the man-made form of folate. Folate is a B-vitamin naturally found in some foods. It is needed to form healthy cells, especially red blood cells. L-methylfolate and levomefolate are names for the active form of folic acid. Folic acid supplements are used to treat or prevent low folate levels. Low folate levels can lead to certain types of anemia. Conditions that can cause low folate levels include poor diet, pregnancy, alcoholism, liver disease, certain stomach/intestinal problems, kidney dialysis, among others. Women of childbearing age should receive adequate amounts of folic acid either through their diet or supplements to prevent infant spinal cord birth defects.

HOW TO USE: Take this product by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once daily. If you are taking the over-the-counter product, follow all directions on the product package. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or take this product more often than directed. Take this product regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. Follow the diet plan recommended by your doctor or dietician. See also Notes section. If your condition persists or worsens, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, get medical help right away.

SIDE EFFECTS: Folic acid usually has very few side effects. If you have any unusual effects from taking this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. If your doctor has directed you to use this product, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this product do not have serious side effects. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. In Canada – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

PRECAUTIONS: Before taking this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: vitamin B-12 deficiency (pernicious anemia). Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products). Folic acid is safe to take during pregnancy when used as directed. It is included in prenatal vitamin products. Certain spinal cord birth defects may be prevented by taking adequate amounts of folic acid during pregnancy. Consult your doctor for more details. Folic acid passes into breast milk but is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.

OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call the US National Poison Hotline at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center directly. Symptoms of overdose may include: mental/mood changes.

NOTES: Do not share this medication with others. Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as complete blood count, folate blood level, vitamin B-12 blood level) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress. Consult your doctor for more details. Folate is naturally found in leafy green vegetables, organ meats (liver, kidney), citrus fruits, and other foods. Folic acid is added to enriched grain products such as bread, pasta, and cereal. Consult your doctor or dietician for a diet plan rich in folate/folic acid.

MISSED DOSE: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

STORAGE: Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.

Information last revised November 2010. Copyright(c) 2010 First Databank, Inc.

Medical grade supplements vs. over-the-counter (OTC) supplements

Many people ask me about medical grade supplements vs. over-the-counter (OTC) supplements that can be purchased at outside stores or online. Is your OTC multi-vitamin the same thing that you can get at a medical office? In a word- no.

One reason is that over the counter vitamins are not regulated by the government. A recent expose` showed that some OTC supplements that were called gluten-free had gluten in them, some that said they contained a certain amount in a capsule had less than the amount listed, and one didn’t even contain the ingredient listed on the label at all! There are literally thousands of OTC supplement companies, and they all say the same things about their products – pure, high quality, etc., etc. – but usually they are not able to back up those claims. OTC and MLM supplement companies are good at marketing their products, and have huge marketing budgets for flashy ads and materials, but this does not mean that they are good.

People often come in to my office with a bag of OTC supplements that they are taking, frequently from a company that their friend or co-worker recommended. They always think they are getting a great product. They always ask me to verify their supplements, and I always have to tell them that I cannot vouch for the quality of that product at all.

These same patients are often shocked when we do their micronutrient test, and find that they are low or completely deficient in X, Y, and Z, and they tell me that they have been taking X, Y, and Z for years!

One reason that OTC supplements are not the same has to do with the ingredients themselves. For example, many people don’t know that there are often multiple forms of a single vitamin – from cheap and synthetic, to more pricey but natural and much better for you. OTC vitamins almost always use the cheap and synthetic forms. For example, folic acid is a cheap and synthetic form of the naturally occurring vitamin folate, and many people (due to common genetic mutations such as MTHFR) need the methylated natural forms of their B vitamins, including methyl folate and methyl B12. Folic acid can actually block the folate receptor and prevent it from responding to the better, more natural vitamin folate. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is better as the more expensive P5P (pyridoxine-5-phosphate). Vitamin E is better as the pricier mixed tocopherols as opposed to alpha tocopherol only, and so on. Medical grade supplements usually contain the best forms of these vitamins, to ensure that your body is getting the most natural and effective form of the vitamin – even if it costs a little more.

Another big reason that OTC vitamins are not the same as medical grade vitamins is the concentrations found in the product. For example, Motrin (Ibuprofen) used to be a prescription drug only, and was 800 mg per pill. When it became available OTC, they lowered the dose to 200 mg. Vitamins are often the same, with much lower doses being the norm in OTC products. For example, in fish oil pills, OTC products usually say “1000 mg per pill!” in big letters, so that people think they are getting a lot. In reality, the most important part of that fish oil is the omega-3 fraction of the oil. In OTC fish oil, there is usually only around 200-400 mg of omega-3 (EPA + DHA) per 1000 mg of oil in a capsule. Since our daily goal for EPA+ DHA should be 1500 – 2000 mg per day, you would have to take 5-10 of those OTC fish oil pills to get what you need, as opposed to usually 2 of the medical grade capsules, so the OTC products aren’t really cheaper at all.

The bioavailability of OTC products is also often a big problem. Many of the “one-a-day” kinds of multivitamins, have small amounts of lots of different things crammed into one small pill – so that the label looks good, and again, people think they are getting a lot. In reality, many of those compacted pills are excreted in the stool undigested and unabsorbed, because they compacted so tightly, that they don’t even dissolve well.

Another way that OTC products “fool” the public is by saying that they are “100% RDA” of something. I semi-jokingly tell patients that if their vitamin says 100% RDA, that is a weak or pathetic vitamin. In reality, the RDA (recommended daily allowance) is the amount of a vitamin that you would have to get, in order to not have a vitamin deficiency disease. The amount of that same vitamin that you need to be optimally healthy, is often many times more.

The other thing that many people do not take into consideration is that individual need for a given nutrient is different than just measuring a blood level of that nutrient. Just because you are in the normal range on a vitamin blood test does not mean that you are getting enough for your individual genetic and health situation. Integrative doctors are well-versed in that kind of analysis.

Medical grade supplements are manufactured to the same strict standards as pharmaceutical drugs. OTC supplements cannot say that. Integrative doctors prescribe vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients the way other doctors prescribe drugs. We are intentionally trying to alter your biochemistry. The difference is that we are doing it in a safe and natural way to optimize your biochemistry, instead of messing it up with a drug. In summary – in order to carry the supplements that I do at my office, I have to show an active, current medical license. Can your health food store say that?

AuthorDr. Lynne Mielke Dr. Mielke takes a whole-person approach and uses specialized testing to determine the underlying cause of each person’s health condition.

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