GPs given vitamin D prescribing advice

GPs have been told which vitamin D supplements they can prescribe to prevent deficiency in line with recent CMO advice, following reports of supply problems and the use of costly alternative products.

Windswept deformity of the legs, caused by Rickets (Osteomalacia), a disease occurring chiefly in children that is caused by a deficiency in vitamin D or calcium (Photo: SPL)
Windswept deformity of the legs, caused by Rickets (Osteomalacia), a disease occurring chiefly in children that is caused by a deficiency in vitamin D or calcium (Photo: SPL)

Last month, GP leaders warned that 'erratic' supplies of vitamin D drugs and the use of expensive bespoke products were pushing up NHS costs.

UK CMOs had called for better awareness of the risks of vitamin D deficiency in a letter to health professionals in early February.

They asked GPs to alert patients at risk of vitamin D deficiency and inform them of how to get free supplements to prevent diseases such as rickets.

Now, advice from the London Medicines Information Service sets out 19 products costing between £0.91 and £141.68 that GPs and the NHS can prescribe to patients to fulfil the CMOs' recommendations.

These include low-cost, government-funded Healthy Start vitamins as well as more expensive liquid forms manufactured as made-to-order products called 'specials'.

The advice also includes details of availability.

Last month, GP revealed that the NHS prescribed expensive unlicensed vitamin D medicines costing up to £2,400 in 2011.

GP had previously found that primary care prescribing costs for vitamin D have tripled since 2004 and will hit £100m by 2013.

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