Italian Medicines Agency Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco

FAQ - Vitamin D medicines

FAQ - Vitamin D medicines

November 2019

Questions and Answers on Vitamin D Medicines

Aggiornamento de 21 febbraio 2023

It is a hormone produced in the skin following sun exposure. Small quantities can also be taken through diet (cod liver oil, salmon, oily fish, egg yolk, milk and dairy products, pork, beef liver, etc.).

  • It regulates the intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorus, promoting normal bone formation and mineralization.
  • It contributes to normal muscle contractility.
  • It acts on the immune system.

Regular sun exposure is the most natural and effective way. Diet cannot be considered an adequate source because its presence in food is rather limited.

The dosage should be carried out only in the presence of specific risk conditions, following a medical recommendation.

The level of vitamin D is measured through a blood test (dosage in the form of 25 (OH) D).

Although vitamin D dosing (25OHD) in asymptomatic healthy people is inappropriate, the cut-off level for initiating therapy is 10-12 ng/mL (or 25-30 nmol/L).

  • people living in nursing homes
  • people with severe motor deficits or bedridden people living at home
  • pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • people with osteoporosis from any cause for whom remineralisation therapy is not indicated
  • vitamin D levels below 12 ng/mL (or 30 nmol/L) and symptoms of hypovitaminosis (asthenia, myalgias, widespread or localised pain, frequent unexplained falls)
  • occasional finding of vitamin D levels below 12 ng/mL (or 30 nmol/L) in an asymptomatic person
  • vitamin D levels lower than 20 ng/mL (or 50 nmol/L) in a person on long-term therapy with medicines that interfere with vitamin D metabolism (antiepileptics, glucocorticoids, antiretrovirals, antifungals, etc.)
  • vitamin D levels below 20 ng/mL (or 50 nmol/L) in a person with disease that can cause malabsorption in adults (cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, bariatric surgery, etc.)
  • vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL (or 75 nmol/L) in a person with primary or secondary hyperparathyroidism
  • vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL (or 75 nmol/L) in a person with osteoporosis of any cause or established osteopathy who is a candidate for remineralisation therapy for whom correction of hypovitaminosis should be a prerequisite for initiating therapy

The administration of vitamin D is ineffective and inappropriate for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular prevention and for cancer prevention.
Vitamin D administration is also ineffective in protecting against Covid-19 and respiratory infections in general.

No, they need a medical prescription.

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