Monday, December 22, 2014

FDA warns of vitamin D overdoses in infants

This week the Food and Drug Administration warned parents giving their infants liquid vitamin D supplements that accidental overdoses can harm the baby. The agency noted that some of the products on the market come with dosing droppers that allow parents to accidentally give too much of the vitamin. The warning comes amid numerous studies and reports of the benefits of vitamin D supplementation for adults. Still, at least for babies less than a year in age, too much of a good thing can lead to problems.

FDA warns of vitamin D overdoses in infants

This week the Food and Drug Administration warned parents giving their infants liquid vitamin D supplements that accidental overdoses can harm the baby. The agency noted that some of the products on the market come with dosing droppers that allow parents to accidentally give too much of the vitamin.

The warning comes amid numerous studies and reports of the benefits of vitamin D supplementation for adults. Still, at least for babies less than a year in age, too much of a good thing can lead to problems.

Pediatricians often recommend that infants - particularly breast-fed babies – get supplements of vitamin D which is critical to development of strong bones by promoting calcium absorption. Deficiencies care cause thinning and misshaped bones.

But too much can cause nausea and vomiting, frequent urination, constipation, abdominal pain as well as confusion and fatigue. In addition, too much can cause kidney damage and other serious health problems, the FDA noted.

“It is important that infants not get more than the recommended daily amount of vitamin D,” says Linda M. Katz, interim chief medical officer in the agency’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Parents and caregivers should only use the dropper that comes with the vitamin D supplement purchased.”

FDA's recommendations included:

  • Ensure that your infant does not receive more than 400 international units of vitamin D a day, which is the daily dose of vitamin D supplement that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for breast-fed and partially breast-fed infants.
  • Use only the dropper that comes with the product; it is manufactured specifically for that product. Do not use a dropper from another product.
  • If you cannot clearly determine the dose of vitamin D delivered by the dropper, talk to a health care professional before giving the supplement to the infant.
  • If your infant is being fully or partially fed with infant formula, check with your pediatrician or other health care professional before giving the child vitamin D supplements.

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Check Up covers regional health news and a wide array of healthcare topics from pharmaceutical happenings to patient safety. Read about some of our bloggers here.

Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

Michael R. Cohen, R.Ph. President, Institute for Safe Medication Practices
Daniel R. Hoffman, Ph.D. President, Pharmaceutical Business Research Associates
Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. Cardiothoracic surgeon in the Philadelphia area
Amy J. Reed, M.D., Ph.D. Dual Board Certified Anesthesiologist and Surgical Intensivist
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