According to a new study from France, local physicians prescribe their patients over 350 different vitamin D supplement regimens with relatively few maintenance therapies.
The study analyzed the vitamin D supplement regimens that were prescribed to 1,311 patients after they received a vitamin D test (1). The results showed that 370 different regimen supplements were prescribed in total: 81.6% of the patients received a single administration of a high vitamin D dose (stoss therapy), 12% received a mixed therapy (both stoss and daily doses) and 6.3% received a daily dose therapy. Of the pati- ents treated with stoss therapy, 32% received a single administration of 200,000 or 100,000 IU of vitamin D shortly after the test. Higher use of mixed therapy was associated with increased patient age. Additionally, 93% of the patients receiving mixed therapy were female. A little over half of the patients received additional supplementation after the first dose whether the regimen prescribed was mixed or routine stoss doses. However, no maintenance treatment was prescribed in half of the supplemented patients over seven months.
The researchers commented that these findings highlight the tremendous variability surrounding the practice of vitamin D supplementation in France, which represents a context of existing but debated recommenda- tions. The lack of attempts to prevent recurring vitamin D deficiency by prescribing a maintenance treatment may be a problem given that a number of factors that cause vitamin D deficiency, including ethnicity, skin color, clothing choices, sun exposure, sun protection habits and body mass index, are expected to continue over time in most cases. Further studies should identify factors and reasons associated with these scattered supplement patterns. They added that these results can only be generalized to countries with similar health- care systems, socioeconomic situations and latitude.