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About - Vitamin A

By mouth: Treats vitamin A deficiency.

By injection: Treats a lack of vitamin A in adults and children. This medicine is used when you cannot take the oral (pill) form of vitamin A.

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Cystic fibrosis can lead to certain vitamins, such as vitamin A, not being properly absorbed by the body. This can result in problems caused by vitamin deficiency. A lack of vitamin A (vitamin A deficiency) can cause specific problems such as eye and skin problems. It can also be associated with poorer general and respiratory health. Therefore people with cystic fibrosis are usually given regular vitamin A preparations from a very young age. However, too much vitamin A can also cause respiratory and bone problems. The review aimed to show whether giving vitamin A regularly to people with cystic fibrosis is beneficial or not. However, the authors did not find any relevant trials to include in the review. They are therefore unable to draw any conclusions regarding the routine administration of vitamin A supplements and recommend that until further evidence is available, local guidelines are followed regarding this practice.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: May 14, 2014

There is not enough evidence to support the use of vitamin A to treat nappy rash. Nappy or diaper rash is a term used to describe inflammation in babies' napkin area. Whilst nappy rash does not make babies very sick, it is very common and it causes varying levels of discomfort to infants and concern to parents. Ointments that contain vitamin A have been suggested as possible treatments for napkin rash. Our review found that there is not enough evidence to say whether vitamin A is effective for treating or preventing napkin rash; more research is needed. One small trial found that applying vitamin A in the first three months of life did not prevent napkin rash.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: October 19, 2005

Acute lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs), especially pneumonia and bronchiolitis, are leading causes of mortality in children up to five years of age. The Global Burden of Disease 2000 project estimated that the annual number of acute respiratory tract infection (ARTI)‐related deaths in children up to five years of age was 2.1 million (excluding deaths caused by measles, whooping cough and neonatal deaths). Others estimate worldwide child deaths from ARTIs at 1.9 million in 2000, 70% of them in Africa and Southeast Asia. Vitamin A deficiency is common in low‐income countries and weakens barriers to infection.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: January 23, 2008

Cervical cancer is preceded by cervical intra‐epithelial neoplasia (CIN). Surgery for CIN is effective in reducing the risk of subsequent invasive carcinoma. An effective chemo‐preventive agent might avoid the need for surgery and reduce the cost and morbidity of work‐up and treatment. Retinoids are natural and synthetic derivatives of naturally occurring vitamin A. Overall, the retinoids studied are not effective in causing regression of severe CIN3 but may have activity in moderate CIN2. Data are inadequate to allow assessment of whether the retinoids studied are effective in preventing progression of any grade of CIN.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: June 6, 2013

Acute respiratory infections, mostly in the form of pneumonia, are the leading cause of death in children under five years of age living in low‐income countries. Vitamin A supplementation has been found to reduce mortality and the severity of respiratory infections in children with measles. This updated review was undertaken to assess the effectiveness of vitamin A adjunctive therapy in children with non‐measles respiratory infections, particularly pneumonia.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: July 20, 2005

Measles is caused by a virus and possible complications include pneumonia. Measles is a major cause of death in children in low‐income countries and is particularly dangerous in children with vitamin A deficiency. Eight studies involving 2574 participants were included in this review and we found that there was no significant reduction in mortality in children receiving vitamin A. However, vitamin A megadoses (200,000 international units (IUs) on each day for two days) lowered the number of deaths from measles in hospitalized children under the age of two years. Two doses of vitamin A are not considered to be too expensive, and are not likely to produce adverse effects.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: October 19, 2005

Breastfeeding is expected to provide for the infant's needs in the early months of life. However, if the mother is undernourished herself, the infant may not receive all the nutrients they need. Vitamin A is important for immunity and helping the infant stay healthy, so if the mother does not have enough vitamin A intake in her diet, the infant may also not receive enough in the breast milk.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: March 25, 2016

Vitamin A deficiency is a significant public health problem in low‐ and middle‐income countries. Vitamin A supplementation given to children between the ages of six months and five years reduces deaths in these settings. This review focused on babies one to six months of age.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: September 28, 2016

Background: Vitamin A is an important micronutrient that is required for maintenance of normal functioning of the human body. In the developing world, many pregnant women are vitamin A deficient. During pregnancy, additional vitamin A is required to promote growth of the baby and to provide stores in the baby's liver. Deficiency of this micronutrient in the mother may lead to its deficiency in the baby and may result in adverse effects on the baby's health. The benefits of giving vitamin A to children older than six months of age for reducing death and adverse effects on health have been established, but no available evidence shows this beneficial effect among infants one to five months of age. Potential benefits of vitamin A supplementation during the newborn period (during the first month of life) are under investigation.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: February 24, 2017

Annually 500,000 children become blind worldwide; 75% of them live in low‐income countries. The major causes of blindness in children vary widely from region to region and are related to the standard of living of the community. Scarring of the eyes from measles, vitamin A deficiency, use of harmful traditional eye remedies and eye infection of the newborn, are the major causes of blindness in low‐income countries. Vitamin A is an important nutrient in the body and is required for the normal functioning of the eye. Its deficiency results in poor vision.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: August 31, 2016

The main aim of this Cochrane Review was to assess the effects of giving vitamin A supplements to HIV‐positive women, during pregnancy or after delivery, or both, on the risk of mother‐to‐child transmission of HIV infection. Cochrane researchers collected and examined all relevant studies to answer this question and included five trials. This is an update of a review last published in 2011.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: September 7, 2017

Vitamin A is a fat‐soluble vitamin found in liver, kidney, eggs, and dairy produce. Low dietary fat intake or intestinal infections may interfere with the absorption of vitamin A. Natural retinoids are required for a wide range of biological processes including vision, immune function, bone metabolism and blood production. In pregnancy, extra vitamin A may be required. Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international agencies recommend routine vitamin A supplementation during pregnancy or at any time during lactation in areas with endemic vitamin A deficiency (where night blindness occurs).

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: October 27, 2015

We investigated how well vitamin A and fish oils work in delaying the progression of visual loss in people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), and whether these treatments are safe.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: December 19, 2013

Background: Vitamin A is a group of fat‐soluble compounds used by the body for regulation and promotion of growth and differentiation of many cells, including cells in the retina of the eye and the cells that line the air passages in the lungs. Preterm infants have low vitamin A levels at birth. This may contribute to an increased risk of developing chronic lung disease and hence a requirement for oxygen. It is possible that an additional vitamin A supplement may reduce complications of prematurity, including abnormal development of the retina (retinopathy), bleeding in the brain (intraventricular haemorrhage), and damage to the gut from inflammation (necrotising enterocolitis) as well as reducing respiratory infections. Too much vitamin A is potentially harmful as it can raise intracranial pressure and cause skin and mucous membrane changes (injury or lesions), and vomiting.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: August 22, 2016

Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a major public health problem in low‐ and middle‐income countries, affecting 190 million children under five years of age. VAD predisposes children to increased risk of a range of problems, including respiratory diseases, diarrhoea, measles, and vision problems, and it can lead to death. Previous studies show that giving synthetic vitamin A to children aged six months to five years who are at risk of VAD can reduce the risk of death and some diseases.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: March 10, 2017

Beta‐carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E cannot be recommended for treatment of liver diseases.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: March 16, 2011

Diarrhoea is a common cause of illness in children, especially in low and middle‐income countries where it accounts for nearly 2.5 million deaths per year. Infants and children with HIV infection or maternal exposure through birth or breastfeeding to HIV infection may be more vulnerable to diarrhoea due to weakened immune systems, nutritional deficiencies or from having other infections. This review evaluated three interventions to assess whether they can prevent death or illness from diarrhoea in infants and children with HIV infection or exposure: vitamin A, zinc and cotrimoxazole. Vitamin A and zinc may correct micronutrient deficiencies that are prevalent in children with HIV infection or exposure, as well as prevent other infections. Cotrimoxazole is an antibiotic that helps prevent opportunistic infections in immunocompromised hosts, and may also prevent other infections. This review found nine studies that addressed these interventions in infants or children with HIV infection.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: June 16, 2010

Chronic pancreatitis is a persistent inflammation of the pancreas that in the long run can cause irreparable damage. The major causes of chronic pancreatitis are genetics, alcohol toxicity and other conditions that might damage or obstruct the pancreas. This inflammation can cause pain that often is severe and leaves patients socially isolated and unable to perform their jobs. Unfortunately, treatment options are scarce, and often strong morphine‐like pain medications are needed. Patients might benefit from alternative medication without the adverse effects associated with morphine‐like medication. This review summarises the evidence from randomised trials on the effects of antioxidants in chronic pancreatitis. Antioxidants are substances that prevent damage to cells caused by toxic byproducts of oxygen in the body. Levels of these byproducts are increased in chronic pancreatitis. Antioxidants constitute a large group that contains many natural and man‐made products. Examples include vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids (present in tea and cocoa) and many specialised medications. We found 12 randomised trials on this topic. The quality of these trials was mixed, and many had small sample sizes and high rates of dropout. Evidence shows that antioxidants may reduce pain in patients with chronic pancreatitis, but the reported reduction in pain was small. Whether this small decrease really had an impact on patients' complaints is not clear. Given the methodological problems of these trials, a strong conclusion could not be drawn. Use of antioxidants resulted in adverse effects in about 16% of study participants. Most adverse effects were mild, such as headache, nausea and constipation. However, participants who developed these adverse effects tended to stop using antioxidant medication. Other outcomes important for decision making such as use of analgesics, rate of exacerbation of pancreatitis and quality of life, were not very well reported. Therefore, we were unable to reach conclusions on these outcomes.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: August 21, 2014

Previous research on animal and physiological models suggests that antioxidant supplements have beneficial effects that may prolong life. Some observational studies also suggest that antioxidant supplements may prolong life, whereas other observational studies demonstrate neutral or harmful effects. Our Cochrane review from 2008 demonstrated that antioxidant supplements seem to increase mortality. This review is now updated.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: March 14, 2012

This review includes 11 trials that tested the effectiveness and safety of various micronutrient supplements in children with HIV infection in a diversity of settings. All except one trial were conducted in African children. The primary outcomes were mortality, morbidity, and HIV‐related hospitalisations, and secondary outcomes were HIV disease progession, measures of growth, and adverse effects of supplementation.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: October 11, 2013

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