WHY is this medicine prescribed?
Vitamins are natural substances that your body needs to grow, develop, and function normally. Vitamins are contained in food; a well-balanced diet usually provides all of the vitamins required. However, there are times, such as during pregnancy and childhood, when your body needs more vitamins than usual. During certain illnesses, your body either cannot get or cannot efficiently use all of the vitamins it needs.
Multivitamins are prescribed for patients who need extra vitamins, who cannot eat enough food to obtain the required vitamins, or who cannot receive the full benefit of the vitamins contained in the food they eat.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
HOW should this medicine be used?
Multivitamins come in regular tablets, chewable tablets, capsules, and oral liquid. They are usually taken once a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label or package label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take multivitamins exactly as directed.
If your vitamins come in a dropper bottle, use the specially marked dropper to measure each dose.
Your doctor will tell you if you need a specific type of vitamin product and how much to take. Some multivitamin preparations do not require a prescription. Ask your pharmacist for advice in selecting a multivitamin product and follow the directions on the label carefully.
What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?
Before taking multivitamins,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to multivitamins or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin) and any other vitamins. Multivitamins are available in high-dose formulations (therapeutic multivitamins) and in combination with iron, calcium, and minerals. Do not take these formulations without your doctor's advice.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking multivitamins, call your doctor.
What should I do IF I FORGET to take 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 medicine cause?
Multivitamins may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if either of these symptoms is severe or does not go away:
- upset stomach
- unpleasant taste
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). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
What should I do in case of 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.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about multivitamins.
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.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.