Folic Acid

07/04/2009 09:32

Folic acid (folacin, pteroylglutamic acid, folate)

Brand Name: Folvite

Pregnancy Category A

Drug class: Folic acid



Therapeutic actions

Active reduced form of folic acid; required for nucleoprotein synthesis and maintenence of normal erythropoiesis.




· Treatment of megoblastic anemias due to sprue, nutritional deficiency, pregnancy, infancy, and childhood




· Contraindicated with allergy to folic acid preparations; pernicious, aplastic, normocytic anemias.



Adverse effects

· Hypersensitivity: Allergic reactions

· Local: Pain and discomfort at injection site



Drug Interaction:

· Decrease in serum phenytoin and increase in seizure activity with folic acid preparations

· Decreased absorption with sulfasalazine, aminosalicyclic acid



Nursing considerations


Name confusion has been reported between folinic acid (leucovorin) and folic acid; use extreme caution.

· Administer orally if at all possible. With severe GI malabsorption or very severe disease, give IM, SC, or IV.

· Test using Schilling test and serum vitamin B12 levels to rule out pernicious anemia. Therapy may mask signs of pernicious anemia while the neurologic deterioration continues.

· Use caution when giving the parenteral preparations to premature infants. These preparations contain benzyl alcohol, may produce a fatal gasping syndrome in premature infants.

· Monitor patient for hypersensitivity reactions, especially if drug previously taken. Maintain supportive equipment and emergency drugs on standby in case of serious allergic response.