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Multivitamin preparations for vitamin deficiency

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Multivitamin preparations for vitamin deficiency

This leaflet is about the use of multivitamin preparations for vitamin deficiency.

Information Standard quality markThis leaflet has been written specifically for parents and carers about the use of this medicine in children. The information may differ from that provided by the manufacturer. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

Name of drug

Multivitamin preparations
Brand names:
Abidec®, Dalivit®, Forceval®, Ketovite®

Why is it important for my child to take this medicine?

Your child needs vitamins to grow and develop into a healthy adult. Different vitamins are needed for different reasons, and a low level (deficiency) of one or more can cause problems. Multivitamins are used to treat vitamin deficiency and for children who cannot absorb vitamins from their food properly. 

What is multivitamins available as?

  • Capsules
  • Tablets
  • Liquid medicine
  • Drops: Abidec drops contain arachis (peanut) oil and sucrose, and Dalivit drops contain sucrose

Different preparations contain different amounts of vitamins A, B, C, D and E and some also contain minerals such as calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc.

When should I give multivitamins?

Multivitamins may be given once, twice or three times each day. Your doctor will tell you how often to give them.

  • Once a day: this can be in the morning or the evening.
  • Twice a day: this should be once in the morning and once in the evening. Ideally, these times are 10–12 hours apart, for example some time between 7 and 8 am and between 7 and 8 pm.
  • Three times a day: this should be in the morning, early afternoon and at bedtime. Ideally, these times are at least 6 hours apart, for example 8 am, 2 pm and 8 pm.

Give the medicine at about the same time(s) each day so that this becomes part of your child’s daily routine, which will help you to remember.

How much should I give?

Your doctor will work out the amount of multivitamins (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.

Your doctor may suggest that your child has a low dose to start with. They may then increase the dose as your child gets used to the medicine and depending on how your child responds to it.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.

How should I give it?

TabletsTablets should be swallowed with a glass of water, milk or juice. Your child should not chew the tablet.

You can crush the tablet and mix it with a small amount of soft food such as yogurt, honey or jam, or mix it with cereal. Make sure your child swallows it straight away without chewing.

CapsuleCapsules should be swallowed with a glass of water, milk or juice. Your child should not chew the capsule. Some capsules should be taken one hour after a meal. This should be shown on the medicine label. If you are not sure, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

You can open the capsule and mix the contents with a small amount of soft food such as yogurt, honey or jam, or mix it with cereal. Make sure your child swallows it straight away without chewing.

Liquid medicine with oral syringeLiquid medicine and drops: Measure out the right amount using an oral syringe or medicine spoon. You can get these from your pharmacist. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give the right amount. Make sure your child takes it all straight away.

For drops, you can add the dose into a glass of milk or fruit juice (preferably at room temperature). Make sure your child drinks all the mixture.

When should the medicine start working?

  • Multivitamins start working straight away, although you may not see much difference in your child.
  • Continue to give the medicine to your child as you have been told to by your doctor. If you are worried about whether it is helping, contact your doctor.

What if my child is sick (vomits)?

  • If your child is sick less than 30 minutes after having a dose of multivitamins, give them the same dose again.
  • If your child is sick more than 30 minutes after having a dose of multivitamins, you do not need to give them another dose. Wait until the next normal dose.

What if I forget to give it?

  • If you usually give it once a day in the morning: Give the missed dose when you remember during the day, as long as this is at least 12 hours before the next dose is due.
  • If you usually give it once a day in the evening: If you remember before bedtime, give the missed dose. You do not need to wake up a sleeping child to give a missed dose. You can give the missed dose in the morning, as long as this is at least 12 hours before the evening dose is due.
  • If you usually give it twice a day: If you remember up to 4 hours after you should have given a dose, give your child the missed dose. For example, if you usually give a dose at about 7 am, you can give the missed dose at any time up to 11 am. If you remember after that time, do not give the missed dose. Just give the next dose as usual.
  • If you usually give it three or four times a day: Do not give the missed dose. Just give the next dose as usual.

What if I give too much?

You are unlikely to do harm if you give an extra dose of multivitamins by mistake. If you concerned that you may have given too much, contact your doctor or NHS Direct (0845 4647 in England and Wales; 0845 24 24 24 in Scotland). Have the medicine or packaging with you if you telephone for advice.

Are there any possible side-effects?

We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side-effects). Your child is unlikely to get side-effects with multivitamins.

Side-effects you must do something about

If your child is short of breath or is wheezing, or their face, lips or tongue start to swell, or they develop a rash, they may be allergic to the multivitamins. Take your child to hospital or call an ambulance straight away.

There may, sometimes, be other side-effects that are not listed above. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor.

Can other medicines be given at the same time as multivitamins?

  • You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol or ibuprofen, unless your doctor has told you not to.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal or complementary medicines.

Is there anything else I need to know about this medicine?

Do not give Abidec to your child if they are allergic to peanuts. Check with your doctor first.

If they have had a dose of Abidec before, and were ok, and your doctor has advised you to give it, then it is safe to use. The peanut extract is very refined so that it very rarely causes problems.

General advice about medicines

  • Try to give medicines at about the same times each day, to help you remember.
  • If you are not sure a medicine is working, contact your doctor but continue to give the medicine as usual in the meantime. Do not give extra doses, as you may do harm.
  • Only give this medicine to your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.
  • If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact your doctor straight away.
  • Make sure that you always have enough medicine. Order a new prescription at least 2 weeks before you will run out.
  • Make sure that the medicine you have at home has not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.

Where I should keep this medicine?

  • Keep the medicine in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight. It does not need to be kept in the fridge.
  • You may need to keep liquid medicine in the fridge – check the instructions on the bottle. Make sure that the medicine doesn’t freeze.
  • Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in the container it came in.

Who to contact for more information

Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse will be able to give you more information about multivitamins and about other medicines used to treat vitamin deficiencies.

You can also get useful information from: 
Publication date: 
28/03/2013

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