Multivitamin preparations

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Multivitamin preparations are prescribed for people who are on a special diet or who are unable to get the vitamins they need from the food they eat.

Taking too much vitamin A or vitamin D can be harmful. Do not take more than the recommended dose, and do not take other vitamin supplements at the same time.

Type of medicineVitamin preparation
Used forTo prevent vitamin deficiency
Available asTablets, capsules, drops, and oral liquid

Multivitamin preparations contain a mix of vitamins which are essential to help our bodies grow, develop, and function properly. Most people get the vitamins they need from the food they eat, but if you are on a special diet or if you are unable to eat a well-balanced diet (as is the case for some young children or elderly people), then you may need extra vitamins. In such cases, a doctor may prescribe a multivitamin preparation. Multivitamin preparations are also available to buy in many retail outlets.

Not all multivitamin preparations are the same. They can contain different amounts of vitamins, and different combinations of vitamins. Some multivitamin preparations also contain small amounts of minerals and trace elements.

To make sure that this is the right treatment for you, before you start taking multivitamins it is important that you speak with a doctor or pharmacist:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding. This is because you are not advised to take any medicines while you are expecting or feeding a baby unless they have been recommended by a doctor.
  • If you are taking any other medicines.
  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet attached to the pack.
  • Multivitamin preparations are usually (but not always) taken once daily. Please check the dosage directions on the label.
  • If you forget to take a dose, don't worry, just take the next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
  • Most multivitamin preparations contain vitamins A and D. It is known that taking large amounts of these vitamins can lead to problems, so it's important that you do not take more than the recommended dose. You are also advised not to take other supplements containing these vitamins at the same time.

Recommended doses of multivitamin preparations are unlikely to cause unwanted effects.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, contact the accident and emergency department of your local hospital for advice.

Do not keep out of-date-or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about medicines ask your pharmacist.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Document ID:
3409 (v24)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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