Health Canada

Health Canada

June 17, 2010 12:17 ET

Update: Proper Dosing of Liquid Vitamin D Supplements in Infants

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 17, 2010) - Health Canada is aware of the communication (www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm215150.htm) recently issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding liquid vitamin D supplements and the risk of dosing errors in infants. Liquid vitamin D products are also available in Canada, and parents and caregivers are reminded to use care when giving liquid vitamin D to an infant.

The U.S. FDA communication states that some liquid vitamin D products come with droppers that hold a greater amount of vitamin D than an infant should receive, which may result in parents or caregivers accidently giving a greater amount of vitamin D than appropriate to their infant.

Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps the body use calcium and phosphorous to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Health care professionals sometimes recommend vitamin D supplements for some infants—especially those who are breastfed—because vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone problems such as rickets. However, excessive amounts may cause harmful health effects.

Health Canada continues to recommend that all breastfed, healthy term infants aged 12 months and under receive a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 international units (IUs), which is the equivalent of 10 micrograms.

Parents and caregivers are reminded to follow these important tips when giving liquid vitamin D to an infant:

  • Only use the dropper that comes with the vitamin D supplement purchased; it is manufactured specifically for that product. Do not use a dropper from another product or a spoon.
  • Ensure the dropper is marked so that the units of measure are clear and easy to understand. Also check that the units of measure correspond to those mentioned in the instructions. If you have questions regarding the proper dose, talk to a health care professional before giving the supplement to the infant.
  • As with any health product, follow the manufacturer instructions carefully. Keep the vitamin D supplement with its original package so that you and other caregivers can follow the instructions.
  • Infant formula contains vitamin D. If your infant is being fully or partially fed with infant formula, check with your paediatrician or other health care professional before giving the child vitamin D supplements.

To date, Health Canada has not received any reports suggesting dosing error associated with the use of liquid vitamin D products in infants.

For more information on Health Canada recommendations for use of vitamin D in breastfed infants (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/child-enfant/infant-nourisson/vita_d_supp-eng.php), please visit Health Canada's website. Additional Health Canada information on vitamin D (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/vitamin/vita-d-eng.php) is also available on Health Canada's website.

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