What is a multivitamin?
Multivitamins are a combination of many different vitamins that are normally found in foods and other natural sources.
Multivitamins are used to provide vitamins that are not taken in through the diet. Multivitamins are also used to treat vitamin deficiencies (lack of vitamins) caused by illness, pregnancy, poor nutrition, digestive disorders, and many other conditions.
Multivitamins may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of multivitamins. An overdose of vitamins A, D, E, or K can cause serious or life-threatening side effects. Certain minerals contained in a multivitamin may also cause serious overdose symptoms if you take too much.
Before taking this medicine
Many vitamins can cause serious or life-threatening side effects if taken in large doses. Do not take more of this medicine than directed on the label or prescribed by your doctor.
Before you use multivitamins, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and allergies.
Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Your dose needs may be different during pregnancy. Some vitamins and minerals can harm an unborn baby if taken in large doses. You may need to use a prenatal vitamin specially formulated for pregnant women.
How should I take multivitamins?
Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.
Never take more than the recommended dose of a multivitamin. Avoid taking more than one multivitamin product at the same time unless your doctor tells you to. Taking similar vitamin products together can result in a vitamin overdose or serious side effects.
Many multivitamin products also contain minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Minerals (especially taken in large doses) can cause side effects such as tooth staining, increased urination, stomach bleeding, uneven heart rate, confusion, and muscle weakness or limp feeling. Read the label of any multivitamin product you take to make sure you are aware of what it contains.
Take your multivitamin with a full glass of water.
You must chew the chewable tablet before you swallow it.
Place the sublingual tablet under your tongue and allow it to dissolve completely. Do not chew a sublingual tablet or swallow it whole.
Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).
Use multivitamins regularly to get the most benefit.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze.
Store multivitamins in their original container. Storing multivitamins in a glass container can ruin the medication.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of vitamins A, D, E, or K can cause serious or life-threatening side effects. Certain minerals may also cause serious overdose symptoms if you take too much.
Overdose symptoms may include stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, hair loss, peeling skin, tingly feeling in or around your mouth, changes in menstrual periods, weight loss, severe headache, muscle or joint pain, severe back pain, blood in your urine, pale skin, and easy bruising or bleeding.
What should I avoid while taking multivitamins?
Avoid taking more than one multivitamin product at the same time unless your doctor tells you to. Taking similar vitamin products together can result in a vitamin overdose or serious side effects.
Avoid the regular use of salt substitutes in your diet if your multivitamin contains potassium. If you are on a low-salt diet, ask your doctor before taking a vitamin or mineral supplement.
Do not take multivitamins with milk, other dairy products, calcium supplements, or antacids that contain calcium. Calcium may make it harder for your body to absorb certain ingredients of the multivitamin.
Multivitamins side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
When taken as directed, multivitamins are not expected to cause serious side effects. Common side effects may include:
unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth.
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.