Vitamin use among children attending a Canadian pediatric emergency department

Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Feb;25(1):131-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-8206.2010.00816.x.


Increasing use of vitamins has been documented worldwide in children and adolescents, and potential for vitamin-drug interactions exists. The aim of this study was to identify vitamin use by children visiting a pediatric emergency department (ED). A survey of parents and/or patients 0-18 years was conducted at a large pediatric ED in Canada. A total of 1804 families were interviewed. The main outcome measure was prevalence of vitamin use by children in the preceding 3 months. A third (32.3%) of the patients in our cohort had used vitamins in the preceding 3 months, and 48% of them were taking vitamins daily. Over 8% of all children used vitamins within the last 24 h. The use of vitamins was higher with older patient and parental age (P<0.001), chronic patient illness (P<0.001), completed immunization (P<0.001), concurrent patient use of prescribed medications (P=0.02), higher parental education (P<0.01), and English as a primary language spoken at home (P=0.002). Prevalence of vitamin use among children in the ED is 32% in the preceding 3 months and 8% within the last 24 h. In light of these findings, pediatricians should ask about vitamin use and discuss with parents potential interactions and possible adverse effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Canada
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Interactions
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Vitamins / adverse effects
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*


  • Vitamins