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High-Dose Vitamin D Linked to Falls, Fractures in Women

Those 70 and older getting vitamin had 15 and 26 percent more falls, fractures

TUESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Older women receiving an annual large dose of vitamin D may have an increased risk of falls and fractures, according to research published in the May 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Kerrie M. Sanders, Ph.D., of the University of Melbourne in Geelong, Australia, and colleagues analyzed data from 2,256 community-dwelling women aged 70 and over who were felt to be at high risk of fractures. Women randomly received a single annual dose of placebo or 500,000 IU of oral cholecalciferol given during the fall or winter for three to five years.

The researchers found that women receiving the vitamin D had 15 percent more falls and 26 percent more fractures. The increased likelihood of falls in the vitamin D group was especially notable in the three months immediately following the annual dose.

"The findings raise the possibility that infrequent high doses of vitamin D are counterproductive. They also raise some question about the ultimate value of the common clinical practice of treating vitamin D-deficient patients with loading doses of vitamin D (typically 50,000 IU twice weekly for six to eight weeks) at the outset of repletion. There is no evidence for adverse effects of more frequent, lower-dose regimens, so daily, weekly, or monthly dosing with vitamin D3 appears to be the best option for clinicians at this time," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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