Since childhood, we’ve been told that Vitamin D is important for growing strong bones. Between a tall glass of cold milk at dinner and enjoying a few hours of sunshine each day, enabling our bodies to create Vitamin D, getting enough of this important nutrient was simple. However, as we age, it’s no longer simple – and many of your residents will need supplements to stay healthy.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb optimal amounts of calcium to build health. Besides guarding against osteoporosis and osteomalacia, helping your residents avoid life-changing fractures, Vitamin D also helps prevent muscle weakness. Studies also indicate Vitamin D supplements may help prevent or improve:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Infectious disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Certain cancers, including colon, prostate and breast
Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with cognitive decline.
When out in the sunshine, your residents can’t overdose on Vitamin D, as the body regulates its production. Taken as a supplement however, too much Vitamin D can be a problem, causing:
- Confusion and disorientation, ataxia
- Heart rhythm disorders
- Kidney stone
- Kidney damage
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
Normal dietary intake for Vitamin D is 160-200 IU each day, but most supplements are 400 IU or more. When Vitamin D is taken in such quantities, interactions may occur that can be dangerous for your residents. Ask your pharmacy to screen for these drugs when your resident takes or is prescribed Vitamin D:
- Aluminum-containing phosphate binders, may contribute to kidney failure
- Anticonvulsants, spurs breakdown of Vitamin D and reduces calcium absorption
- Atorvastatin (Lipitor), may not be properly processed when taken with Vitamin D
- Cholestyramine (Prevalite), reduces absorption of Vitamin D
- Orlisat (Xenical or Alli), reduces absorption of Vitamin D
- Thiazide diuretics, increases risk of hypercalcemia
- Steroids, reduces absorption of calcium
- Stimulant laxatives, reduces absorption of Vitamin D and calcium
Your residents should not take Vitamin D when taking calcipotriene (Dovonex, Sorilux), as it may cause hypercalcemia, too much calcium in the blood.
High doses of Vitamin D should be avoided when your resident is taking:
- Cytochrome P-450 3A4 substrates
- Digoxin (Lanoxin), increasing the chance of fatal heart attack
- Diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazac and more), causing hypercalcemia and reducing effectiveness of diltiazem, raising blood pressure
- Verapamil (Verelan, Calan SR), causing hypercalcemia and reducing effectiveness of verapamil, raising blood pressure, angina, supra ventricular tachycardia and raising the risk of migraines.
Tablets Pharmacy is happy to provide this information to help you keep your residents in the very best of health, enjoying the highest quality of life possible. When you need prescriptions screened for interactions, or the finest medications delivered to your facility in easy-to-dispense doses, call us for a free evaluation.
If you have questions about Vitamin D, its effect on health and any possible interactions with prescription or OTC medications, please email email@example.com or call 708-272-1212.