Table of contents

  • Brand Names
  • Drug Combinations
  • Chemistry
  • Pharmacologic Category
  • Mechanism of Action
  • Therapeutic Use
  • Unlabeled Use
  • Pregnancy and Lactation Implications
  • Contraindications
  • Warnings and Precautions
  • Adverse Reactions
  • Caution and personalized dose adjustment in patients with the following genotypes
  • Other genes that may be involved
  • Drug Interactions
  • Nutrition/Nutraceutical Interactions
  • Dosage
  • Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics
  • Special Considerations

Brand Names


Austria: Carotaben; Czech Republic: Carotaben; Germany: Carotaben, Carotana, Carotinora; Greece: Difrarel; Luxembourg: Carotaben.

North America

USA: A-Caro-25, B-Caro-T, Lumitene.

Latin America

Argentina: Betacaroteno, Bronce Sol.

Drug combinations

Beta-Carotene: Folic Acid; Ginseng; Niacin (Vitamin B~3~); Niacinamide; Phytomenadione (Vitamin K~1~); Pyridoxine (Vitamin B~6~); Retinol (Vitamin A); Riboflavin (Vitamin B~2~)


Beta-Carotene: C~40~H~56~. Mw: 536.87. (1) β,β-Carotene; (2) all-trans-β-Carotene; (3)(all-E)-1,1′-(3,7,12,16-Tetramethyl-1,3,5,7,9,11,13,15,17-octadecanonaene-1,18-diyl)bis[2,6,6-trimethylcyclohexene]. CAS-7235-40-7 (1977).

Pharmacologic Category

Vitamins. (ATC-Code: A11CA02; D02BB01).

Mechanism of action

beta-Carotene, also known as pro-vitamin A, consists of two molecules of vitamin A which are hydrolyzed in the gastrointestinal tract. It functions as an antioxidant. beta-Carotene is capable of quenching singlet oxygen free radicals and blocking chain-reaction lipid peroxidation. It serves an important role in both cell-mediated and humoral immunity. Retinoids interact with specific receptors, influencing gene expression and apoptosis (cell death). Natural beta-carotene (cis form) acts as an antioxidant, whereas the synthetic form (trans form) has recently been found to be pro-oxidant.

Therapeutic use

Reduction of the severity of photosensitivity reactions in erythropoietic protoporphyria. Some clinicians have recommended high-dose antioxidant supplements containing ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, and vitamin E with zinc in high-risk patients with age-related macular degeneration.

Pregnancy and lactiation implications

Fetotoxic but not teratogenic in animal studies. There are no adequate studies to date in humans. beta-Carotene should be used during pregnancy only when the potential benefits justify the possible risks to the fetus. It is not known whether beta-carotene is distributed into milk (caution with use in nursing women).

Unlabeled use

Prophylaxis and treatment of polymorphous light eruption. Prophylaxis against photosensitivity reactions in erythropoietic protoporphyria. A combination preparation containing beta-carotene and canthaxanthin has been used orally for cosmetic «tanning» by coloring the skin (carotenodermia). A combination with vitamins and zinc has been proposed as profilaxis of advanced age-related macular degeneration in patients with extensive intermediate size drusen, at least one large drusen, noncentral geographic atrophy in one or both eyes, or advanced age-related macular degeneration or vision loss due to macular degeneration in one eye. Other uses have been suggested in AIDS, asthma, breast cancer, carotenoid deficiency, cataract prevention, cervical dysplasia, chromosome damage (reduction), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary heart disease (risk reduction; in combination), cystic fibrosis, diabetes, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, immune support, laryngeal cancer, LDL oxidation (decrease in males), lung cancer (preventive), lung function, night blindness, oral leukoplakia, osteoarthritis, photoprotection (erythropoietic protoporphyria), and pregnancy-related complications.


Hypersensitivity to beta-carotene or any component of the formulation. Supplementary vitamin A is not advised.

Warnings and precautions

Ingestion of large doses of beta-carotene can result in carotenosis cutis (orange coloring in the skin). Do not use in individuals who smoke. Use with caution in hepatic/renal impairment. beta-Carotene is not effective as a sunscreen. Use with caution in individuals receiving bile acid sequestrants, orlistat, neomycin, or mineral oil because these agents can reduce absorption of beta-carotene. Use with caution in individuals receiving colchicines, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, niacin, or proton pump inhibitors. Large quantities of green or yellow vegetables or their juices or extracts are not suitable substitutes for crystalline beta-carotene.



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