Generic Name: vitamin A
- What is vitamin A?
- What are the possible side effects of vitamin A?
- What is the most important information I should know about vitamin A?
- What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking vitamin A?
- How should I take vitamin A?
- What happens if I miss a dose?
- What happens if I overdose?
- What should while taking vitamin A?
- What other drugs will affect vitamin A?
- Where can I get more information?
What is vitamin A?
Vitamin A is found in foods such as milk, cheese, eggs, butter, fortified margarine, meat, liver, oily saltwater fish, grains, oils, carrots, squash, dark green and yellow vegetables, and fruits such as cantaloupe or apricots. Vitamin A is important for the eyes and skin, the immune system, and for normal growth.
Vitamin A is used to treat vitamin A deficiency.
Vitamin A is possibly effective in preventing cataracts, or slowing the progression of retinitis pigmentosa (an eye disease that causes damage to the retina). Vitamin A is also possibly effective in preventing diarrhea in pregnant women who are malnourished.
Vitamin A may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What are the possible side effects of vitamin A?
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- fever, sweating, unusual tiredness;
- mood changes;
- vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite;
- confusion or feeling irritable;
- double vision;
- bleeding gums, mouth pain;
- a seizure; or
- hair loss, peeling skin, cracked skin around your mouth, or skin discoloration.
In children, high doses of vitamin A may cause:
- severe drowsiness, loss of consciousness;
- vision problems;
- fever, chills;
- cough with mucus, chest pain, trouble breathing;
- vomiting, diarrhea; or
- peeling skin.
Less serious side effects may be more likely, and you may have none at all.
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 vitamin A?
Never take more than the recommended dose of vitamin A. An overdose of vitamin A can cause serious or life-threatening side effects.
Do not take vitamin A without medical advice if you are pregnant. Vitamin A can cause birth defects if taken in large doses.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking vitamin A?
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if this medicine is safe to use if you have ever had:
- a zinc or iron deficiency;
- celiac disease;
- kidney disease;
- liver problems such as cirrhosis or jaundice (yellow of the skin or eyes);
- anemia (low red blood cells);
- short gut syndrome;
- an infection in your intestines;
- cystic fibrosis;
- a pancreas disorder;
- if you are malnourished; or
- if your body does not absorb fats properly.
Do not take vitamin A without medical advice if you are pregnant. Although some vitamin A is needed for the normal development of a baby, vitamin A can cause birth defects if taken in large doses. You may need to use a prenatal vitamin specially formulated for pregnant women.
Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are breastfeeding. Your dose needs may be different while you are nursing.
How should I take vitamin A?
Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.
The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin A increases with age. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions. You may also consult the Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutrient Database (formerly "Recommended Daily Allowances") listings for more information.
A child's dose of vitamin A is based on the age of the child. Ask a doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about giving vitamin A to a child.
Swallow the pill whole and do not crush, chew, break, or open it.
Eating fatty foods can help your body absorb vitamin A.
Never take more than the recommended dose of vitamin A. Avoid taking more than one vitamin 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.
The total daily amount of vitamin A you receive includes vitamin A in the foods you eat combined with taking vitamin A as a supplement.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
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 vitamin A can cause serious or life-threatening side effects.
What should while taking vitamin A?
Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage while taking vitamin A.
Avoid taking more than one vitamin product at the same time unless your doctor tells you to.
What other drugs will affect vitamin A?
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using vitamin A with any other medications, especially:
- orlistat (alli, Xenical);
- an antibiotic--doxycycline, minocycline, sarecycline, or tetracycline; or
- a retinoid--acitretin, isotretinoin, tretinoin, Retin-A, Soriatane, and others.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect vitamin A, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.
Where can I get more information?
Your pharmacist can provide more information about vitamin A.
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