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Selenium (as selenious acid)

Pronunciation: se-LEE-nee-um
Class: Trace metal

Trade Names

- Capsules, oral 100 mcg

- Capsules, oral 200 mcg

- Capsules, oral 100 mcg
- Capsules, oral 200 mcg
- Tablets, oral 50 mcg
- Tablets, oral 100 mcg
- Tablets, oral 125 mcg
- Tablets, oral 200 mcg
- Tablets, ER, oral 200 mcg
- Injection 40 mcg/mL

- Tablets, oral 50 mcg

- Tablets, oral 200 mcg

Versel (Canada)


Part of glutathione peroxidase, which protects cell components from oxidative damage caused by peroxidases produced in cellular metabolism; spares vitamin E, which in turn boosts the cell's antioxidant defense system; plays a role in the structure of teeth.



Selenium is readily absorbed from the GI tract.


Selenium is stored in the red blood cells, liver, spleen, heart, and nails.


Once selenium reaches the tissues, it is converted to its active form.


Primarily excreted in the urine, and to a lesser extent in the feces.

Indications and Usage

Dietary supplement; use as a supplement to IV TPN solutions to prevent depletion of endogenous stores and subsequent deficiency symptoms.


Do not give injection undiluted by direct IV injection.

Dosage and Administration

Adults PO

100 to 200 mcg/day. The 50 mcg tablets may be taken as 1 tablet 4 times daily.

IV Metabolically stable patients

20 to 40 mcg/day added to the TPN.

Selenium deficiency states resulting from long-term TPN support

100 mcg/day for 31 days has reversed deficiency symptoms without toxicity.


IV 3 mcg/kg/day.

General Advice

  • Tablets should be taken with meals.
  • Do not give injection undiluted by direct injection into a peripheral vein.
  • Add injection to TPN solution.


Store tablets and capsules in a tightly closed container in a cool, dry place. Store vials between 59° and 86°F.

Drug Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Unlikely to occur at recommended dosage level.



Frequently assess vascular access site for signs of inflammation or infection. Periodic monitoring of selenium plasma levels is suggested as a guideline for subsequent injections.


Category C .




Some oral products contain yeast. Avoid these products in patients who are allergic to yeast.

Renal Function

Supplement dosage may need to be adjusted, reduced, or omitted.

Aluminum toxicity

Parenteral products may contain aluminum that may be toxic. Aluminum may reach toxic levels with prolonged parenteral administration if kidney function is impaired. Premature neonates are particularly at risk.

GI malfunction

Dose may need to be adjusted, reduced, or omitted.




Brick red–color gastric mucosa, cerebral edema, coma, death, edematous lungs, fulminating peripheral vascular collapse, garlicky or sour breath odor, GI effects (eg, vomiting), hemolysis, hypersalivation, internal vascular congestion, liver necrosis, muscle spasms, pulmonary edema, and restlessness.


Dental defects, dermatitis, garlic odor of breath and sweat, GI disorders, hair loss, mental depression, metallic taste, nervousness, vomiting, weakened nails.

Patient Information

  • Advise patient to take oral supplements with food.
  • Advise patient, family, or caregiver that injection will be added to TPN solution.
  • Advise patient to report pain, redness, warmth, or swelling of TPN access site.

Further information

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