Folic acid is the man-made version of the vitamin folate (also known as vitamin B9).
Folate helps the body make healthy red blood cells and is found in certain foods.
Folic acid is used to:
Treat or prevent folate deficiency anaemia
Help reduce side effects from methotrexate, a medicine used to treat severe arthritis, Crohn’s disease or psoriasis
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are Folic Acid tablets?
Folic acid tablets are the man-made version of vitamin folate (also known as vitamin B9).
Folic acid is important for the production of red blood cells it is commonly used to;
treat or prevent folate deficiency anaemia
help your unborn baby’s brain, skull and spinal cord develop properly to avoid development problems (called neural tube defects) such as spina bifida
help reduce side effects from methotrexate, a medicine used to treat severe arthritis, Crohn’s disease or psoriasis
Folate deficiency anaemia can be caused by a poor diet or a plant-based diet but more commonly intestinal problems that prevent the body from absorbing enough folate. All of these conditions can lead to Folate Deficiency anaemia which can be diagnosed by your doctor with a blood test, from here they will identify the cause. We have a blog post titled; ‘Tired all the time? 6 common anaemia symptoms’ which might help you recognise if you should seek further medical attention for anaemia.
Folic acid is often recommended to pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant as it can help prevent birth defects in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. A lot of pregnancy vitamin supplements will contain folic acid. We cannot prescribe folic acid tablets to pregnant women online from e-Surgery but this medication can be acquired from your doctor or GP.
There is some evidence to suggest that taking Folic acid tablets can help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, though there is not enough to prove this to be the case. We would recommend Folic acid tablets to be taken by those with a diagnosed Folate deficiency anaemia.
You can buy Folic acid tablets online or from your local pharmacy. If you choose to buy Folic Acid tablets online from e-Surgery we will require a short 2-minute health questionnaire to verify you are receiving the correct medication. Whenever you buy Folic acid tablets online or any other medication make sure to buy from reputable, registered pharmacies.
How to take Folic Acid tablets?
When you buy Folic Acid tablets online, or from your local pharmacy, ensure to take one 5mg Folic acid tablet once a day as prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist. The general length of treatment is 4 months after which your doctor may want a check-up.
You can take folic acid with or without food. Swallow the tablets whole with a drink.
How long do Folic Acid tablets take to work?
The folic acid will start to work within 24 hours. Do not stop taking folic acid tablets if you start to feel better, complete the full treatment you have been prescribed.
What is Folate deficiency anaemia?
Vitamin B9 (commonly called folate) deficiency anaemia occurs when a lack of folate causes the body to produce abnormally large red blood cells that cannot function properly. Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body using a substance called haemoglobin.
Anaemia is the general term for having either fewer red blood cells than normal or having an abnormally low amount of haemoglobin in each red blood cell. There are several different types of anaemia and each one has a different cause.
What are the symptoms of Folate deficiency anaemia?
Folate deficiency can cause a variety of symptoms including:
extreme tiredness (fatigue)
lack of energy (lethargy)
noticeable heartbeats (palpitations)
hearing sounds coming from inside the body, rather than from an outside source (tinnitus)
loss of appetite and weight loss
What causes Folate deficiency anaemia?
Folate is a water soluble nutrient meaning the body cannot store it, this requires your body to have a constant supply in the form of the food that we eat or supplements. Some causes of Folate deficiency anaemia are:
Diet low in Folate or Vitamin B, this could include a plant based diet
Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if these side effects bother you or do not go away:
feeling sick (nausea)
loss of appetite
bloating or wind
Contact a doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms as it could be a sign of an allergic reaction:
you get a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
you get tightness in the chest or throat
you have trouble breathing or talking
your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling
Interactions between Folic Acid tablets and food/alcohol?
It’s best to avoid drinking alcohol with folic acid as alcohol may stop folic acid from being absorbed. Drinking alcohol might mean your folic acid may not work as well.
You can eat and drink normally when taking Folic Acid tablets.
Interaction between Folic Acid tablets and other drugs?
Please tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including medicines obtained without a prescription:
antiepileptics (to treat epilepsy) such as phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone, sodium valproate and carbamazepine
antibacterials (to treat infections) such as trimethoprim, chloramphenicol and cotrimoxazole
sulfasalazine (to treat ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis)
methotrexate (to treat Crohn’s disease, psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis)
lithium for mental health problems
triamterene, a diuretic
a gas and air mixture to put you to sleep for an operation or to relieve pain while you are awake
aspirin for pain relief or to thin your blood
Taking Folic Acid tablets when pregnant?
If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking any medicine.
Is there any reason I would not be able to take Folic Acid tablets?
Do not take Folic acid tablets if:
You have an allergy (hypersensitivity) to folic acid or any of the other ingredients in the tablets
an untreated vitamin B12 deficiency such as in certain anaemias and lifelong vegetarians
pernicious anaemia (a form of anaemia caused by lack of vitamin B12 )
another condition caused by vitamin B12 deficiency
a malignant (cancerous) disease.
Why should I tbuy Folic Acid tablets?
You should buy Folic acid tablets to prevent or reduce Folate deficiency anaemia, as it can cause you to feel tired and drowsy. Folate is required for the body to function properly, and if you are unable to absorb it naturally medication is the second best thing. You can easily buy Folic acid tablets online from e-Surgery with a quick 2 minute health questionnaire!
Are there other ways to prevent Folate deficiency?
Although for some, Folic acid tablets will be the best option, there are some foods high in folate that may help reduce your deficiency. These include:
Do not use Folic Acid tablets after the expiration date on the box. Whenever you buy Folic Acid tablets online or any other medication be sure to check the expiry date when your medication arrives in the post.
Can I buy Folic Acid tablets online?
You can buy Folic Acid tablets online from registered prescribers such as e-Surgery.
Whenever you buy Folic Acid tablets online or any other medication, make sure you check for the green GPhC logo on the bottom of each page of the website you are using.
You can use the GPhC website to check if a pharmacy is registered, this will ensure that when you buy Folic Acid tablets online they will be genuine.
Where can I get more information about Folic Acid tablets online?
e-Surgery uses Royal Mail delivery with choices starting from Royal Mail 48 tracked delivery, Royal Mail tracked 24 and Royal Mail 1 pm special delivery (discover more about e-Surgery delivery). When you buy Folic Acid tablets online they will arrive in discreet, recyclable packaging at a delivery address of your choice.
How to dispose of Folic Acid tablets bought online?
Whenever you buy Folic Acid tablets online they will come in blister packs that are not currently recyclable, so once they have been used can be disposed of in a general waste bin. If Folic Acid tablets are unfinished dispose of medication safely and drop them off at a local pharmacy. Cardboard packaging and paper patient information leaflets are recyclable.