Annual intramuscular injection of a megadose of cholecalciferol for treatment of vitamin D deficiency: efficacy and safety data

Terrence H Diamond, Kenneth W Ho, Peter G Rohl, Matthew Meerkin
Medical Journal of Australia 2005 July 4, 183 (1): 10-2

AIM: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of an annual intramuscular injection of cholecalciferol for vitamin D deficiency.

DESIGN: Prospective open-label study.

PARTICIPANTS: Five men and 45 women (mean age 66.3 years) with vitamin D deficiency who were given a single therapeutic intramuscular injection of 600 000 IU (15 mg) cholecalciferol (vitamin D(3)).

OUTCOME MEASURES: Serum levels of calcium, creatinine, 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) (25OHD(3)) and parathyroid hormone, as well as early morning 2-hour urine calcium/creatinine excretion index. Specimens were collected at baseline and after 4 and 12 months of therapy. Data are reported as mean +/- 1 SD.

RESULTS: Vitamin D deficiency was severe (< 12.5 nmol/L) in one participant, moderate (12.5-24 nmol/L) in 14, and mild (25-49 nmol/L) in 35. Twenty-four participants (48%) had secondary hyperparathyroidism. Following intramuscular cholecalciferol injection, serum 25OHD(3) levels normalised in all participants and remained above 50 nmol/L throughout the study. Serum 25OHD(3) levels were significantly higher at 4 months (114 +/- 35 nmol/L), and 12 months (73 +/- 13 nmol/L) compared with baseline (32 +/- 8 nmol/L) (P < 0.001), increasing by an average of 128% over the 12 months. There was a corresponding decrease in serum parathyroid hormone levels at 4 months (6 +/- 3 pmol/L) and at 12 months (5.2 +/- 3 pmol/L), with a 30% decrease at 12 months from baseline (7.4 +/- 4 pmol/L) (P < 0.01). Primary hyperparathyroidism was unmasked in one participant at 4 months and mild hypercalcaemia (serum calcium, < 2.70 mmol/L) was noted in two participants (4%) at 12 months. Serum creatinine levels remained normal in all participants throughout the study, while increases in 2-hour urine calcium/creatinine excretion index were seen in 10 participants (20%) at 12 months, three of whom had had elevated values at baseline.

CONCLUSIONS: Once-yearly intramuscular cholecalciferol injection (600 000 IU) is effective therapy for vitamin D deficiency. While this therapy appears to be safe, the potential for developing hypercalciuria needs to be examined in a large randomised controlled trial.

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