Health Guide
Drug Guide

Vitamin E (Oral route)

Pronunciation:

VYE-ta-min E

Brand Names:

Dosage Forms:

Classifications:

Therapeutic

Nutritive Agent

Pharmacologic

Vitamin E (class)

Uses of This Medicine:

Vitamins are compounds that you must have for growth and health. They are needed in only small amounts and are available in the foods that you eat. Vitamin E prevents a chemical reaction called oxidation, which can sometimes result in harmful effects in your body. It is also important for the proper function of nerves and muscles.

Some conditions may increase your need for vitamin E. These include:

Increased need for vitamin E should be determined by your health care professional.

Infants who are receiving a formula that is not fortified with vitamin E may be likely to have a vitamin E deficiency. Also, diets high in polyunsaturated fatty acids may increase your need for vitamin E.

Claims that vitamin E is effective for treatment of cancer and for prevention or treatment of acne, aging, loss of hair, bee stings, liver spots on the hands, bursitis, diaper rash, frostbite, stomach ulcer, heart attacks, labor pains, certain blood diseases, miscarriage, muscular dystrophy, poor posture, sexual impotence, sterility, infertility, menopause, sunburn, and lung damage from air pollution have not been proven. Although vitamin E is being used to prevent certain types of cancer, there is not enough information to show that this is effective.

Lack of vitamin E is extremely rare, except in people who have a disease in which it is not absorbed into the body.

Vitamin E is available without a prescription.

For good health, it is important that you eat a balanced and varied diet. Follow carefully any diet program your health care professional may recommend. For your specific dietary vitamin and/or mineral needs, ask your health care professional for a list of appropriate foods. If you think that you are not getting enough vitamins and/or minerals in your diet, you may choose to take a dietary supplement.

Vitamin E is found in various foods including vegetable oils (corn, cottonseed, soybean, safflower), wheat germ, whole-grain cereals, and green leafy vegetables. Cooking and storage may destroy some of the vitamin E in foods.

Vitamin supplements alone will not take the place of a good diet and will not provide energy. Your body also needs other substances found in food such as protein, minerals, carbohydrates, and fat. Vitamins themselves often cannot work without the presence of other foods. For example, small amounts of fat are needed so that vitamin E can be absorbed into the body.

The daily amount of vitamin E needed is defined in several different ways.

Vitamin E is available in various forms, including d- or dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate, d- or dl-alpha tocopherol, and d- or dl-alpha tocopheryl acid succinate. In the past, the RDA for vitamin E have been expressed in Units. This term has been replaced by alpha tocopherol equivalents (alpha-TE) or milligrams (mg) of d-alpha tocopherol. One Unit is equivalent to 1 mg of dl-alpha tocopherol acetate or 0.6 mg d-alpha tocopherol. Most products available in stores continue to be labeled in Units.

Normal daily recommended intakes in milligrams (mg) of alpha tocopherol equivalents (mg alpha-TE) and Units for vitamin E are generally defined as follows:

PersonsU.S.Canada
mg
alpha-TE
Unitsmg
alpha-TE
Units
Infants and children
Birth to 3 years of
age
3–6 5–103–4 5–6.7
4 to 6 years of age711.758.3
7 to 10 years of age711.76–810–13
Adolescent and adult
males
10 16.76–10 10–16.7
Adolescent and adult
females
8135–78.3–11.7
Pregnant females 1016.78–913–15
Breast-feeding
females
11–12 18–209–10 15–16.7

Before Using This Medicine:

If you are taking this dietary supplement without a prescription, carefully read and follow any precautions on the label. For this supplement, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Children

Problems in children have not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended amounts. You should check with your health care professional if you are giving your baby an unfortified formula. In that case, the baby must get the vitamins needed some other way. Some studies have shown that premature infants may have low levels of vitamin E. Your health care professional may recommend a vitamin E supplement.

Older adults

Problems in older adults have not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended amounts.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy CategoryExplanation
All TrimestersAAdequate studies in pregnant women have not shown an increased risk of fetal abnormalities.

Breast-feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Other medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving this dietary supplement, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this dietary supplement with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Using this dietary supplement with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Other interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this dietary supplement. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Proper Use of This Medicine:

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

For individuals taking the oral liquid form of this dietary supplement:

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the dietary supplement in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

With doses greater than 400 Units a day and long-term use
Blurred vision
diarrhea
dizziness
headache
nausea or stomach cramps
unusual tiredness or weakness

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Last Updated: 10/12/2016

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