Generic Name: Selenium Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is selenium used for?

Selenium is mineral that is found in soil and occurs naturally in certain foods (such as whole grains, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, and seafood). Selenium is not produced in the body, but it is needed for proper thyroid and immune system function.

Selenium is used to treat or prevent selenium deficiency.

Selenium has been used in alternative medicine as an aid to treat Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid), and to treat high cholesterol.

How should I take selenium?

When considering the use of herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements. If you choose to use selenium, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider.

Long-term use of selenium in doses greater than 400 micrograms (mcg) per day can lead to serious medical problems or death. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.

The recommended dietary allowance of selenium increases with age. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. You may also consult the National Academy of Sciences “Dietary Reference Intake” or the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Dietary Reference Intake” (formerly “Recommended Daily Allowances” or RDA) listings for more information.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using selenium. You may need to stop using this product for at least 2 weeks before your surgery.

This medication can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using selenium.

How do I store selenium?

Selenium is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store selenium in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of selenium that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush selenium down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using selenium?

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, 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.

Pediatric

There is no specific information comparing use of selenium sulfide in infants and children with use in other age groups; however, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children than it does in adults.

Geriatric

Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of selenium sulfide in the elderly with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Is it safe to take selenium during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There isn’t enough information about the safety of using this medication during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication.

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of selenium?

Symptoms of overdose

  • Diarrhea
  • fingernail weakening
  • garlic odor of breath and sweat
  • hair loss
  • irritability
  • itching of skin
  • nausea and vomiting
  • unusual tiredness and weakness

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with selenium?

Selenium may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with selenium?

Selenium may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with selenium?

Selenium may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

  • Blistered, raw, or oozing areas on your scalp or body – Use of this medicine on these areas may increase the chance of absorption through the skin

Understand the dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.

What is the dose of selenium for an adult?

The suggested additive dosage level is 20 to 40 mcg selenium/day

What is the dose of selenium for a child?

The suggested additive dosage level is 3 mcg/kg/day.

How is selenium available?

Selenium is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

Injection 400 mcg/10 mL

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of selenium, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

Want to live your best life?
Get the Hello Doktor Daily newsletter for health tips, wellness updates and more.