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All about: Multivitamins

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Brand names: Centrum, Theragran, Vi-Daylin

Why is this supplement prescribed?

Multivitamins are nutritional supplements for people whose diet may be deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. You may need a supplement if you are on a special diet, or don't eat the right foods. A supplement may also be necessary if you are a strict vegetarian, take medications that prevent the body from using certain nutrients, or have an illness that affects your appetite. In addition, special formulas are available for use during pregnancy.

Vitamin/mineral supplements come in a wide range of formulations. Three of the most widely used are Centrum, Theragran, and Vi-Daylin. Each of these brands offers a variety of formulas tailored to the needs of different groups.

Centrum is a multivitamin/multimineral supplement that includes all antioxidants, the vitamins that strengthen the body's natural defenses against cell damage. Centrum Silver contains higher strengths of the vitamins that people 50 years of age or older need the most. Centrum, Jr., formulations are geared to children's needs.

Theragran is a multivitamin supplement. Theragran-M adds minerals to the formulation. Theragran Stress Formula contains higher strengths of the B vitamins that may be needed for people under stress, plus extra vitamin C.

Vi-Daylin is a multivitamin supplement; Vi-Daylin + Iron is a multivitamin plus iron, which may be needed by women who have heavy menstrual periods. Some Vi-Daylin formulations also contain fluoride. Vi-Daylin drops are given to infants and young children.

Most important fact about this supplement

Do not use supplements as a replacement for a diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Food contains many important ingredients not available in supplements.

How should you take this supplement?

Follow the dosing instructions on the bottle, or use as directed by your doctor.

Do not take more than suggested.

--If you miss a dose...

If you forget to take your multivitamin for a day, don't be concerned. Resume your regular schedule the following day.

--Storage instructions...

Keep out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature, and keep tightly closed.

Why should this supplement not be used?

If you have any serious chronic medical conditions check with your doctor before starting on a multivitamin supplement. You may have special requirements.

If your multivitamin supplement contains fluoride, check with your doctor. You should not use it if your drinking water contains more than 0.7 parts per million of fluoride.

Special warnings about this supplement

Do not take more of a multivitamin supplement than suggested on the packaging, or directed by your doctor. Very high doses of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful or even dangerous.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Multivitamins

When taken as suggested on the packaging, there are no known supplement interactions.

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Ask your doctor whether you should take a multivitamin supplement while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Taking too much of any supplement may be harmful to you or your unborn child.

Recommended dosage

ADULTS

The usual dose is 1 tablet, teaspoonful, or tablespoonful daily according to package instructions, or as directed by your doctor.

CHILDREN

The usual dose of children's formulations is 1 tablet, teaspoonful, or dropperful daily or as directed by your doctor. Younger children may require only half this dose. Check the instructions on the package.

Overdosage

Megadoses of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful when taken for extended periods. If you have unexplained symptoms and suspect an overdose, check with your doctor.

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