Folic Acid (Injection, Oral)

Overview

Folic acid is otherwise known as vitamin B9. In general, vitamins are essential for good quality health and strong growth. Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is important for having strong blood. Most people get enough folic acid from their diet, as it comes naturally in a variety of different foods. However, in some cases, it is required that people take supplements of folic acid in order to avoid anemia (weak blood).

Below are some of the conditions that can cause you to require supplements of folic acid.

As well as this, breastfed infants, undersized infants and those receiving fortified formulas may also need folic acid supplementation.

The need for folic acid is not something you should decide yourself, but must instead be determined by your doctor. You should, therefore, sit down and discuss your condition with a trained medical professional before seeking folic acid. It has the potential to interact with a range of other drugs and may cause side effects.

There have even been some studies that suggest taking folic acid before pregnancy and during the early stages of pregnancy may lead to a reduced chance of the child having certain birth defects, especially regarding neural tube defects.

There are some claims that folic acid, as well as other B vitamins, may be good at preventing certain mental health problems. However, these have not been proven and such treatments generally involve a large range of very expensive vitamins.

Folic acid is available without a prescription in some forms, but when it is administered as an injection, a trained doctor must carry it out.

Conditions Treated

Type Of Medicine

  • Solution

Side Effects

As well as helping to avoid or treat anemia, folic acid can also cause other side effects to occur. In some cases, these side effects aren't very severe. They may simply pass as your treatment progresses and your body becomes accustomed to the medicine.

In other cases, the side effects may be more severe, and may require you to seek immediate medical assistance. If you are experiencing any unwanted side effects or if they are worrying you, you should contact your doctor. They may be able to advise on means to reduce them or an alternate form of treatment or medication.

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Tightness in your chest

Dosage

Below you can find the typical daily intake suggestions for US and Canadian citizens. However, do be aware that the exact prescription given to you by your doctor may vary greatly from that below. This is because your doctor will have fully examined your medical condition and made an assessment based on your medical needs. You should never increase, decrease or alter the frequency of your doses unless first approved by your doctor.

Here are the normal daily recommended intakes given to prevent deficiency. It applies to the amount received via oral tablet dosage.

For US citizens:

  • Adult and teenage males: Take 150 400 mcg per day

For Canadian citizens:

  • Adult and teenage males: Take 150 220 mcg a day

In order to treat a deficiency, the exact prescription will need to be calculated by the doctor. It is based on the severity of the deficiency.

It is important you do not miss a dose, as doing so will impact the benefit you can expect to receive from the treatment. If, however, you do miss a dose, then you should skip it and return to your regular schedule of dosages. You should never double dose.

Interactions

It is possible that other drugs that you are taking currently might interact with folic acid. This is why it is recommended that you speak to a trained medical professional before self-prescribing this medicine.

During a consultation, your doctor will require you to let them know about any drugs you are taking. This includes prescription and non-prescription drugs, as well as any herbal vitamins or supplements. Your doctor is best placed to understand any interactions that may occur and suggest ways to help avoid them. This may mean prescribing alternative medicines or altering the doses you receive of one or both.

It is usually not recommended you take Dasabuvir at the same time as folic acid.

Taking folic acid with any of the following drugs would increase the risk of certain side effects occurring. In some cases, it may still be necessary to take two such drugs together. To minimise any unwanted interactions, your doctor may still be able to advise certain alterations.

  • Phenytoin

As well as interacting with drugs, it is possible that folic acid will interact with certain aspects of your diet. Your doctor may advise on altering your intake of certain substances, including those that you eat, drink and smoke.

Finally, it is possible that folic acid supplements could interact with other medical problems you currently suffer from. Your doctor will likely want to know about any other issues you have, particularly pernicious anemia, a type of blood problem. If you take folic acid while you have this condition, you may have a higher risk of experiencing serious side effects. It is, therefore, not recommended that you take folic acid with this condition

Warnings

You should read the following advice carefully if you are receiving this medicine without a prescription.

If you have ever had a reaction to folic acid or any other medicine, then you should first discuss this with a doctor before taking these supplements. If you do consult with a doctor, you should make them aware of all allergies you have, as well as those to any foods, animals, dyes or preservatives. The labels and packaging of the folic acid will also contain any allergies that do not react well with the medicine. Be sure to familiarise yourself with this.

If pediatric patients stick to the daily recommended amount of folic acid, then no problems have yet been reported. Similarly, if older patients stick to these recommended levels, then no problems can typically be expected.

Studies carried out on pregnant women taking folic acid supplements have not highlighted any problems that would increase any risk to the fetus. Similarly, during breastfeeding, it is usually safe to use folic acid. If you do have any concerns about potential increased risks then you should address these to a trained medical professional prior to taking the tablets.

The best source of folic acid is through a natural and varied diet. Your doctor may well recommend that you make some dietary changes to help best boost your levels of vitamin B9. This can be done alongside taking a prescription of folic acid. You should follow this dietary plan closely for maximum benefits. If you think your diet may be lacking in adequate minerals or vitamins, then you can discuss receiving a meal plan from your doctor.

Some of the best sources of folic acid include green vegetables, other vegetables, cereal products and fruits. As well as this, organ meats, such as kidney or liver, can be very beneficial. Whenever possible, you should consume fresh fruits and vegetables, as these are a better source of vitamins and minerals. You often find that food processing destroys many vitamins found in a food and that heat can reduce the amount of folic acid that is present.

Vitamins alone cannot give your body what it needs, which is why a largely supplement-based diet is oftentimes ineffective. Instead, you should eat a varied diet containing other essential substances like proteins, fat, and carbohydrates.

For both US and Canadian citizens, the exact amount of folic acid required in a diet can be defined in a few ways.

For US citizens:

  • RDAs (Recommended Daily Allowances) will vary depending on the exact age, physical condition and gender of an individual. They refer to the number of minerals and vitamins needed to provide adequate nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

For Canadian citizens:

The amount of minerals, protein and vitamins needed for adequate nutrition in an individual to lessen chronic illnesses is given by the RNIs (Recommended Nutrient Intakes).

Storage

You should store your folic acid in a sealed container and have it stored at room temperature. It should never be allowed to freeze and should be kept away from moisture, direct light and heat. It can potentially be harmful to children, so should be kept safely out of reach.

If you find that the medicine is no longer in date or if you have any left after your treatment, you should dispose of it in a safe and sensible manner. Your healthcare professional can advise on how to do so.

Summary

If you are suffering from weak blood or anemia, then folic acid is a necessary vitamin needed to help strengthen and improve your health. However, you should be aware that it should not be relied on in supplementary form to provide you with good health. Instead, folic acid it is best received either solely from a varied diet or at least accompanied by a varied diet. Without this, it is unlikely your condition can improve as quickly or as effectively.

In many cases, it is best to speak to a trained health professional before taking folic acid. It does have the potential to cause side effects and can interact with other drugs. If you are sure you would like to start taking it, then a doctor will still be happy to answer any other questions you may have and to discuss alterations to your diet plan. You will also find an information guide along with your folic acid. You should familiarise yourself with this beforehand and ensure you are taking the correct amount based on your exact condition.