Why is this medication prescribed?
Folic acid is used to treat or prevent folic acid deficiency. It is a B-complex vitamin needed by the body to manufacture red blood cells. A deficiency of this vitamin causes certain types of anemia (low red blood cell count).
How should this medicine be used?
Folic acid comes in tablets. It usually is taken once a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take folic acid exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
If you are taking folic acid to treat a deficiency, you probably will feel better quickly, often within 24 hours. However, do not stop taking this drug until your doctor tells you to do so.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking folic acid,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to folic acid or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially phenytoin (Dilantin) and vitamins.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Your doctor may tell you to eat more liver, foods prepared from dried yeast, fruit, and fresh leafy green vegetables to increase the folic acid in your diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Folic acid may cause side effects. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- skin rash
- difficulty breathing
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to folic acid.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Brand names of combination products
- Folvron® (containing Ferrous Sulfate, Folic Acid)¶
¶ This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.