Generic Name: selenium (se LEE nee um)
Brand Name: Selenium TR, Selepen, Sele-Pak
What is selenium?
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.
Not all uses for selenium have been approved by the FDA. Selenium should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.
Selenium may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.
What is the most important information I should know about selenium?
High doses or long-term use of selenium can lead to serious medical problems or death. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.
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.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking selenium?
You should not use this product if you are allergic to selenium.
Using selenium long-term or at high doses may increase your risk of developing diabetes or other serious medical conditions. Ask your doctor about your specific risk.
Before using selenium, talk to your healthcare provider. Your dose needs may be different if you have:
chronic kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
underactive thyroid; or
Your dose needs may be different during pregnancy or while you are nursing. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are pregnant or breast-feeding a baby.
Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without medical advice.
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.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra selenium to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of selenium can be fatal.
What should I avoid while taking selenium?
Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.
Selenium side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Long term use of high selenium doses can lead to dangerous side effects. Stop taking selenium and call your doctor at once if you have:
lack of energy, feeling irritable or very tired
hair loss, mild rash, brittle or painful fingernails, or white streaks on the nails;
tremors, feeling light-headed;
flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);
metallic taste, bad breath, strong body odor; or
easy bruising or bleeding.
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect selenium?
Other drugs may interact with selenium, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about selenium
- Other brands: Selenium TR
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Consult with a licensed healthcare professional before using any herbal/health supplement. Whether you are treated by a medical doctor or a practitioner trained in the use of natural medicines/supplements, make sure all your healthcare providers know about all of your medical conditions and treatments.
- 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.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.02.
Date modified: October 14, 2016
Last reviewed: June 26, 2013