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 medicine||Vitamin preparation|
|Used for||To prevent vitamin deficiency|
|Also called||Abidec®; Dalivit®; Forceval®; Ketovite®|
|Available as||Tablets, 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.
Before taking multivitamins
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 breastfeeding. This is because you are advised not to take any medicines while you are expecting or feeding a baby unless they have been recommended by a doctor or pharmacist.
- If you are taking any other medicines.
How to take multivitamins
- 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.
Getting the most from your treatment
- 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.
Can multivitamins cause problems?
Recommended doses of multivitamin preparations are unlikely to cause unwanted effects.
How to store multivitamins
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
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.
Further reading and references
Manufacturer's PIL, Forceval® capsules; Alliance Pharmaceuticals, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated March 2017.
Manufacturer's PIL, Abidec® Multivitamin Drops; Omega Pharma Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated April 2021.
Medicines Complete BNF 86th Edition; British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.