Comparison of enteral and intramuscular vitamin A supplementation in preterm infants

Early Hum Dev. 1992 Sep;30(2):163-70. doi: 10.1016/0378-3782(92)90143-5.


Vitamin A deficiency associated with preterm delivery is not readily reversible using the recommended supplement of 1500 IU per day. It has been reported that 2000 IU of intramuscular vitamin A administered on alternate days for 28 days will correct the deficiency. The objective of this study was to compare this regime with the practice in our nursery of giving 5000 IU of vitamin A per day with the early introduction of feeds. The vitamin A status of ten preterm infants (mean gestation 30.5 weeks) who received intramuscular vitamin supplementation was compared with that of nine infants (mean gestation 30.7 weeks) given enteral vitamin A. Vitamin A status was evaluated on the 32nd day of life using plasma retinol and retinol-binding protein (RBP) concentrations and a modified relative dose response (RDR) test. Plasma retinol and RBP concentrations were similar in the two groups shortly after birth revealing vitamin A deficiency. By the 32nd day of life, plasma retinol and RBP concentrations had risen significantly in both groups and in 70% the modified RDR was normal. Differences between the groups were not observed irrespective of the method of vitamin A administration. None of the infants developed clinical or biochemical vitamin A toxicity. In most preterm infants who tolerate feeds, vitamin A deficiency can be corrected safely by supplementing the feeds with 5000 IU of vitamin A per day.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Enteral Nutrition*
  • Female
  • Food, Fortified
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / blood
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / therapy*
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Male
  • Vitamin A / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin A / blood
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / therapy*


  • Vitamin A