Delhi: Stop indiscriminate vitamin prescribing, say senior pharmacologists | Delhi News


NEW DELHI: India needs evidence-based guidelines for the use of vitamins or mineral supplementsdelhi pharmacologists Maulana Azad Medical College (MACM) and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital say.
In an article published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, Dr. Proteesh Rana, who previously worked for RML and currently works at the University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS), and Dr. Vandana Roy, who heads the Department of Pharmacology at MAMC , state that vitamins should be prescribed for specific indications based on scientific evidence and their indiscriminate use for health promotion or chronic disease prevention should be stopped.
Their call to action comes against the backdrop of a growing trend to prescribe multivitamins. Many people also buy it over-the-counter, often without specific indications, according to doctors.
“Focus on healthy eating instead of just taking pills”
Evidence-based guidelines for the use of vitamin/mineral supplements should be developed by building consensus among experts in the fields of nutrition, pharmacology, and clinicians from various specialties. These guidelines should be formulated with the dietary needs of the Indian population in mind and should also clarify the role of nutritional supplements in people on regular diets,” the IJMR article states. “This is even more true for B vitamins, a misused vitamin-complex,” he adds.
B vitamins are a class of water-soluble vitamins commonly used as a dietary supplement. It is a diverse group of chemicals including thiamine (B1); riboflavin (B2); niacin (B3); pantothenic acid (B5); pyridoxine (B6); biotin (B7); folic acid (B9) and cyanocobalamin (B12), which are collectively called “vitamin B complex”. Dr. Neeraj Nischal, Additional Professor in the Department of Medicine at AIIMS, said that instead of taking pills to meet nutritional needs, people should focus on healthy eating. “Supplements should be prescribed after due diligence on medical need and not otherwise,” he said.
The article states that B vitamins are often used in conditions not characterized by vitamin B deficiency for which evidence of effectiveness is lacking. “For example, the use of B vitamins such as folic acid has been shown to be harmful in people with high levels of baseline homocysteine. Similarly, the use of MVM (multi-vitamin) supplements containing beta-carotene increases the risk of lung cancer and in -dose of vitamin E increases overall mortality in users,” he adds.
Vitamins are the top-selling segment of the global dietary supplement market, recording $37.64 billion in revenue in 2018.
According to the IJMR article, studies assessing the prescribing behavior of doctors in various parts of India reveal that vitamins constitute about 24-25% of all prescribed drugs.
In the United States, National Health and Nutrition Survey data shows that 52% of adults said they had used at least one dietary supplement in the previous 30 days and 31% said they had used a multivitamin supplement and minerals. The most commonly cited reason for using supplements is for general health and well-being and to fill nutrient gaps in the diet.
Last week, the US Task Force on Preventive Services released its updated guidelines on using vitamins, minerals and multivitamin supplements to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer. It advises against the use of beta-carotene or vitamin E supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease or cancer. The USPSTF also concludes that current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance between the benefits and harms of using multivitamin supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease or cancer, according to a report published in the Journal of American Medical Association. .


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