Folic Acid – Information, Uses, Side Effects and Dosage

folic acid

Drug Trade Name: FA-8, Folacin-800

Category: Vitamin

Generic Name: Folic Acid

Introduction and Quick Information:


Folic acid is a type of vitamin B that controls the production of new cells in the body and prevents any changes in DNA, that might lead to cancer. It is prescribed to people suffering from folic acid deficiency and folate deficiency anemia.

Is It Approved By the U.S. FDA?

Folic Acid was approved by the U.S. FDA on July 7, 2005.

Usage and Benefits of Folic Acid:

Folic Acid is found to be highly beneficial when used in following situations –

  • Methotrexate toxicity
  • Folic acid deficiency
  • Birth defects during pregnancy
  • Hyperhomocysteinemia
  • Age-related vision loss
  • Depression
  • Hypertension

Folic Acid Side Effects:

Folic Acid usually has very fewer side effects. However, under some situations, it can cause some effects, such as:

  • Gas and bloating
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Irritability
  • Hyperactivity
  • Psychotic behavior
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Diarrhea

In case you face any side-effect, consult your doctor to know more.

General Recommended Dosages of Folic Acid:

Your doctor will prescribe the best-suited dose for you, keeping your age and other conditions in mind. Follow his instructions religiously for best results.

In Case I Miss the Dose?

If you miss a dose, either skip it altogether and take the next scheduled dose or take it whenever you remember. Do not take an extra dose to make up for the dose missed.


In Case I Take Overdose?

If you take an overdose of folic acid, you should seek medical help as soon as possible and drink a lot of water to flush it out of the body.

Drug Interactions of Folic Acid:

Some of the drugs that interact with Folic Acid are mentioned below:

  • secobarbital (Seconal)
  • nitrofurantoin (Macrobid)
  • butabarbital (Butisol)
  • phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • pyrimethamine (Daraprim)
  • tetracycline (Sumycin)
  • methotrexate (Trexall)

Inform your doctor or pharmacist about all the prescription, herbal and OTC medicines you have been taking. Do not start, stop or modify the dose of your medicine without consulting your doctor.

Lifestyle and Food Habits You Must Follow When on Folic Acid:

Some food items rich in folic acid are peas, whole-wheat products, lentils, dried beans, brussels sprouts, liver, spinach, oranges, asparagus, beets, and broccoli. You can include more of these food products in your diet so that you can get the required folic acid from natural sources rather than relying on artificial supplements.

How Safe is Folic Acid for Pregnant Women or Nursing Mothers?

Folic acid is not only just safe but also very essential for both pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Folic acid is assigned pregnancy category A by the U.S. FDA, which indicates that it can be taken during pregnancy, without incurring any harm to the growing baby.  During pregnancy, neural tube defects like spina bifida can be prevented by taking sufficient amount of folic acid.

Although folic acid is excreted into breast milk, it is still considered safe for the nursing mothers to take it.

Complications and Conditions Possible Due to Prolonged Use of Folic Acid:

Prolonged use of folic acid can mask vitamin B 12 deficiency, which can cause megaloblastic anemia, resulting in permanent tissue damage. Prolonged use of folic acid will prevent the symptoms of megaloblastic anemia from appearing, without correcting the underlying problem of vitamin B12 deficiency. This deficiency can damage your nerves throughout the body, causing numbness and tingling, and destruction of myelin in your spinal cord and brain. This damage is irreversible and leads to long-term health issues. Therefore, prolonged use of folic acid should be avoided.

Availability of Folic Acid:

Tablets of folic acid are available in government hospitals and authorized medical stores across the country on prescription.