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60,000 IU/month of Vitamin D prevents its deficiency in children on epilepsy drugs

60,000 IU/month of Vitamin D prevents its deficiency in children on epilepsy drugs

A study finds that a dose of 60,000 IU of Vitamin D3 per month is not only safe and sufficient in maintaining its serum levels but also prevents vitamin D deficiency in children who have newly started taking antiepileptic drugs. The findings appeared in the Journal of Clinical nutrition ESPEN.

Children under antiepileptic drug therapy usually suffer from vitamin D deficiency. In a view to finding a solution to this, Virraghvan conducted a randomized controlled trial which studied the efficacy of high dose vitamin D3 supplementation on the vitamin D nutrition status of the children newly started anti-epileptic drug therapy.

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin; low levels are associated with poor bone and muscle health and other chronic conditions, such as heart disease and cancer. The benefits of vitamin D in promoting bone health are already well known.

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This randomized controlled trial was conducted in a tertiary care Children’s Hospital at New Delhi from November 2011 to March 2013. 83 children in the age group 5–10 years newly started on anti-epileptic drugs (AED) were randomized into two groups; group A – the intervention group, to whom 60,000 IU vitamin D3 was given orally/month under direct supervision along with AED for a period of 6 months, and group B- the control group, to whom AED without vitamin D3 was given. Serum 25(OH)D, ionized calcium (iCa), total calcium (tCa), inorganic phosphate (iP), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels were assayed at baseline and at the end of 6 months and were compared within and between the two groups.

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The mean 25(OH)D in Group A was maintained at 6 months follow up compared to baseline [25 ng/ml, 95%. In group B, there was a significant decrease in 25(OH)D levels at 6 months compared to baseline. At 6 months, mean serum 25(OH)D was significantly higher in group A as compared to group B.

The researchers concluded that oral administration of 60,000 IU vitamin D3/month is sufficient to maintain serum 25(OH)D level and to prevent the development of vitamin D deficiency in children newly started on AED over a period of 6 months. However, non-supplementation can lead to the lowering of serum 25(OH)D in these children.

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