FDA Cautions Parents on Vitamin D Supplements

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning about the potential risk of overdosing infants with liquid vitamin D.

Some liquid <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/defective_drugs">vitamin D supplement products on the market come with droppers that could allow parents and caregivers to accidentally give harmful amounts of the vitamin to an infant. These droppers can hold a greater amount of liquid vitamin D than an infant should receive.

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

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and plays a key role in the development of strong bones. Vitamin D supplements are recommended for some infants—especially those who are breast-fed—because deficiency of this vitamin can lead to bone problems such as thinning, soft, and misshaped bones, as is seen in the condition known as rickets. But, excessive vitamin D can cause nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, excessive thirst, frequent urination, constipation, abdominal pain, muscle weakness, muscle and joint aches, confusion, and fatigue, as well as more serious consequences like kidney damage.

The FDA has made the following recommendations:

• Ensure your infant does not receive more than 400 international units (IUs) of vitamin D daily. This is the daily dose of vitamin D supplement that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for breast-fed and partially breast-fed infants.

• Keep the vitamin D supplement product with its original package so that you and other caregivers can appropriately follow the instructions, following instructions carefully to ensure correct dropper use and dosing.

• Only use the dropper that comes with the product; it is manufactured specifically for that product. Never use a dropper from another product.

• Ensure the dropper is marked so that the units of measure are clear and easy to understand; ensure units of measure correspond to those in the instructions.

• 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.

Remember, any medication or dietary supplement can have adverse effects and must be taken according to the manufacturer’s directions. The easiest way to ensure that an infant is not overdosed is to use a product supplied with a dropper that will give no more than 400 IU per dose. If a caregiver cannot clearly determine the dose of Vitamin D that should be given to an infant or has any other questions, FDA recommends consulting with a healthcare provider before giving any of these products to an infant.

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