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  • Overdose of Vitamin D kills 10 Year Old Boy in New Delhi

  • The AIIMS doctors found that the boy had been prescribed the Vitamin D medicines by rural doctors to cure his poor health issues, which was much more than the safer limit.

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    VItamin D

    Too much of anything is injurious to health and sometimes leads to serious consequences. Even the dosage of ‘harmless’ vitamins too can have serious implications. This same happened with 10-year-old boy, who died after being given a dose of Vitamin D to cure poor physical health.

  • The boy had been prescribed the vitamin at a rural health facility to treat the problem of poor physical growth. He was administered six lakh international units (IU) of vitamin D daily for 21 days, which doctors said was around 30 times the recommended dosage.

  • "This led to Vitamin D toxicity and the boy was admitted to AIIMS with abdominal pain and vomiting. We managed him with in travenous hydration and steroids initially but when his condition did not improve, he had to be admitted to the paediatric ICU," said a senior doctor.

    The patient died due to pancreatitis induced by high calcium levels in the body, complicated by infection. The case was reported in the latest issue of Indian Journal of Paediatrics. Vitamin D helps in absorption of dietary calcium. However, the maintenance dose for a child is 1,000 IU, which can go up to 60,000 IU a week for treatment purposes.

    The supplement is being increasingly prescribed for Indians in big cities, where Vitamin D deficiency is on the rise due to lower exposure to sunlight. However, death due to Vitamin D toxicity is rare. Doctors say mild side-effects such as nausea, vomiting and weight loss are often seen in those taking it.

    "We find Vitamin D toxicity mostly in patients who continue taking supplements over-the-counter after being prescribed a specific dosage for a certain duration. It is also seen in patients who have been prescribed the supplement without tests to assess the existing level," said Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, senior consultant, internal medicine at Apollo hospital.

    His views were echoed by Dr Ravinder Goswami, an endocrinologist at AIIMS who has led pioneering research on the subject.

    "Deficiency of Vitamin D is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies, particularly among those living in metros who spend less time outdoors. However, not everyone needs oral or injectable supplements.

    A few minutes of exposure to sunlight is enough," he said, adding that many physicians and orthopaedics have been over-prescribing supplements that can cause more harm to patients.

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