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Am J Kidney Dis. 2005 Mar;45(3):540-9.

Long-term, low-dose, intravenous vitamin C leads to plasma calcium oxalate supersaturation in hemodialysis patients.

Author information

1
Department of Nephro-Urology, Nephrology and Transplantation, Amedeo Avogadro University, Maggiore Hospital, Novara, Italy. ccanavese@hotmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Ascorbate supplementation for patients on regular dialysis treatment (RDT) is advised to obviate deficiency and improve epoetin response in those with functional iron deficiency. However, clear-cut safety concerns regarding hyperoxalemia are still poorly understood. This study tries to establish safety/efficacy profiles of ascorbate and oxalate during long-term intravenous ascorbate supplementation.

METHODS:

A prospective study was performed in 30 patients on RDT showing ascorbate deficiency (plasma ascorbate < 2.6 mg/L [<15 micromol/L]): 18 patients were administered intravenous ascorbate during 18 months (250 mg/wk, subsequently increased to 500 mg), and 12 patients were taken as reference untreated cases. Plasma ascorbate and oxalate assays and dialytic balance determinations were performed (ion chromatography and reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography, respectively) at baseline, during treatment, and 12 months after withdrawal.

RESULTS:

Plasma ascorbate levels increased dose dependently with supplementation (1.6 +/- 0.8 mg/L [9.1 +/- 4.6 mumol/L] at baseline, 2.8 +/- 1.8 mg/L [15.9 +/- 10.1 micromol/L]) with 250 mg of ascorbate, and 6.6 +/- 2.8 mg/L [37.5 +/- 16.0 micromol/L] with 500 mg/wk of ascorbate), but only normalized with greater dosages for several months in 94% of patients. Baseline plasma oxalate levels increased from 3.2 +/- 0.8 mg/L (35.8 +/- 8.8 micromol/L) to 3.6 +/- 0.8 mg/L (39.5 +/- 9.1 micromol/L) and 4.5 +/- 0.9 mg/L (50.3 +/- 10.4 micromol/L) with 250 and 500 mg, respectively ( P < 0.001). The calcium oxalate saturation threshold was exceeded by 7 of 18 patients (40%) during 6 months therapy with 500 mg/wk. Ascorbate dialysis removal increased from 37.8 +/- 23.2 mg (215 +/- 132 micromol) to 99.6 +/- 51.7 mg (566 +/- 294 micromol) during supplementation (P < 0.001), with corresponding increases in oxalate removal from 82.5 +/- 33.2 mg (917 +/- 369 micromol) to 111.2 +/- 32.6 mg/L (1,236 +/- 362 micromol; P < 0.01). Withdrawal reverted plasma levels and dialysis removal to initial values. Values for untreated patients did not change during 1 year of follow-up.

CONCLUSION:

Patients on RDT may resolve ascorbate deficiency with intravenous supplementation of 500 mg/wk, but this implies a significant risk for oxalate supersaturation. Oxalate measurements are strongly recommended during long-term ascorbate therapy.

PMID:
15754276
DOI:
10.1053/j.ajkd.2004.10.025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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