Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Classifications: vitamin;
Therapeutic: vitamin replacement

Pregnancy Category: a (C if >RDA)


50 mg, 100 mg tablets


Water-soluble vitamin and component of the flavoprotein enzymes, which work together with a wide variety of proteins to catalyze many cellular respiratory reactions by which the body derives its energy.

Therapeutic Effect

Evaluated by improvement of clinical manifestations of deficiency: digestive disturbances, headache, burning sensation of skin (especially "burning" feet), cracking at corners of mouth (cheilosis), glossitis, seborrheic dermatitis (and other skin lesions), mental depression, corneal vascularization (with photophobia, burning and itchy eyes, lacrimation, roughness of eyelids), anemia, neuropathy.


To prevent riboflavin deficiency and to treat ariboflavinosis; also to treat microcytic anemia and as a supplement to other B vitamins in treatment of pellagra and beri-beri.

Cautious Use

Pregnancy (category A; category C if >RDA).

Route & Dosage

Nutritional Supplement
Adult: PO 5–10 mg/d
Child: PO 1–4 mg/d

Nutritional Deficiency
Adult: PO 5–30 mg/d in divided doses
Child: PO 3–10 mg/d


  • Give with food to enhance absorption.
  • Store in airtight containers protected from light.

Adverse Effects (≥1%)

Urogenital: May discolor urine bright yellow.

Diagnostic Test Interference

In large doses, riboflavin may produce yellow-green fluorescence in urine and thus cause false elevations in certain fluorometric determinations of urinary catecholamines.


Drug: No clinically significant interactions established.


Absorption: Readily absorbed from GI tract. Distribution: Little is stored; excess amounts are excreted in urine. Elimination: In urine. Half-Life: 66–84 min.

Nursing Implications

Assessment & Drug Effects

  • Collaborate with physician, dietitian, patient, and responsible family member in planning for diet. A complete dietary history is an essential part of vitamin replacement so that poor eating habits can be identified and corrected. Deficiency in one vitamin is usually associated with other vitamin deficiencies.

Patient & Family Education

  • Be aware that large doses may cause an intense yellow discoloration of urine.
  • Note: Rich dietary sources of riboflavin are found in liver, kidney, beef, pork, heart, eggs, milk and milk products, yeast, whole-grain cereals, vitamin A–enriched breakfast cereals, green vegetables, and mushrooms.

Common adverse effects in italic, life-threatening effects underlined; generic names in bold; classifications in SMALL CAPS; Canadian drug name; Prototype drug

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