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Betaine

Generic Name: betaine (BET aine)
Brand Name: Cystadane

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Nov 21, 2018 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is betaine?

Betaine works by preventing the build-up of an amino acid called homocysteine. This amino acid can harm blood vessels and contribute to heart disease, stroke, or circulation problems.

Betaine is used to reduce homocysteine levels in people with a genetic condition called homocystinuria, in which the amino acid builds up in the body. Betaine is not a cure for homocysteinuria.

Betaine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

To make sure you can safely take betaine, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

How should I take betaine?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Betaine is a powder medicine that must be mixed with a liquid before using it.

Gently shake the powder medicine bottle before measuring your dose. To get the correct dose, use the measuring scoop provided with betaine.

Mix betaine powder with 4 to 6 ounces of water, juice, milk, infant formula, or soft food. Swallow the mixture right away without chewing. Do not save for later use.

Betaine doses are based on weight in young children. Your child's dose needs may change if the child gains or loses weight.

You may need frequent blood tests.

Betaine is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include other vitamin and mineral supplements and a special diet. Follow your diet and medication routines very closely.

Store betaine powder at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking betaine?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Betaine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • muscle weakness;

  • memory problems;

  • changes in your mental state;

  • problems with speech, balance, or walking;

  • vision changes; or

  • unusual or unpleasant body or breath odor.

Common side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Betaine dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Hyperhomocysteinemia:

Initial dose: 3 grams orally twice a day
-Increase the dose gradually until plasma total homocysteine is undetectable or only present in small amounts
Maximum dose: Some patients have required 20 grams/day

Comments:
-One in vitro pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic study showed minimal benefit from more than twice daily dosing and 150 mg/kg/day betaine.
-An initial plasma homocysteine response takes several days; steady state is reached within a month.

Uses: To decreases elevated blood homocysteine levels in the treatment of homocystinuria from:
-Cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) deficiency
-5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) deficiency
or
-Cobalamin cofactor metabolism (cbl) defect

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hyperhomocysteinemia:

3 years and older:
Initial dose: 3 grams orally twice a day
-Increase the dose gradually until plasma total homocysteine is undetectable or only present in small amounts

Under 3 years:
Initial dose: 100 mg/kg/day divided into 2 daily doses
-Increase weekly by 50 mg/kg increments until plasma total homocysteine is undetectable or only present in small amounts


Comments:
-Some patients have required 20 grams/day.
-One in vitro pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic study showed minimal benefit from more than twice daily dosing and 150 mg/kg/day betaine.
-An initial plasma homocysteine response takes several days; steady state is reached within a month.

Uses: To decreases elevated blood homocysteine levels in the treatment of homocystinuria from:
-Cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) deficiency
-5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) deficiency
or
-Cobalamin cofactor metabolism (cbl) defect

What other drugs will affect betaine?

Other drugs may affect betaine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

More about betaine

Consumer resources

Other brands: Cystadane

Professional resources

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