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What are the risks of taking vitamin A?


If you have liver disease and or drink a lot of alcohol, vitamin A could damage your liver. Smokers who drink alcohol and take beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A) can have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.

What does vitamin A interact with?

Vitamin A can interact with numerous other medications to increase the potential of toxicity, high brain pressure (intracranial hypertension), and bleeding, or to lower treatment effects. If you are taking birth control pills; Targretin® (bexarotene); Soriatane® (acitretin); Accutane®, Amnesteem®, Claravis®, Sotret® (isotretinoin); Questran®, Prevalite® (cholestyramin); Atralin®, Avita®, Renova®, Retin-A®, Tretin-X®(tretinoin); Periostat®, Vibramycin® (doxycycline); Minocin® (minocycline); Sumycin® (tetracycline); Alli®, Xenical® (orlistat) or a blood thinners, such as Coumadin®, Jantoven® (warfarin) consult with your healthcare professional prior to taking Vitamin A.

Is vitamin A safe for pregnant women or nursing mothers?

Both too little and too much vitamin A can cause serious problems for pregnant women and their unborn children. It is known that the mother taking too much vitamin A can cause various birth defects in the fetus. But this is true only for preformed vitamin A, such as retinol, and not true of pro-vitamin A, such as beta-carotene. This is why beta-carotene is considered a safer type of vitamin A for pregnant women. Vitamin A travels through breast milk, but it is unclear if the child is endangered when the mother uses too much vitamin A. If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are nursing, consult your doctor before taking vitamin A.

What happens if I overdose on vitamin A?

Seek immediate medical attention. Vitamin A overdose can result in severe or life-threatening side effects. An overdose can happen from taking one massive dose or from repeatedly taking high doses. Overdose symptoms can include nausea or vomiting; hair loss; menstrual period changes; tiredness; pain behind the eyes; dark urine; appetite loss; peeling skin; dizziness or drowsiness; vision changes; peeling skin or cracked skin around the mouth; bone or joint pain; severe stomach pain; or jaundice (yellow skin or eyes).

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Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.

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