France has moved to suspend sales of a vitamin D medication following the death of a baby who suffocated after being given the liquid supplement, health authorities said Wednesday. According to the Luxembourg Ministry of Health, the vitamin D supplement has never been authorised in the Grand Duchy.
“Uvesterol D is medication based on vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) used in paediatrics to prevent or treat a vitamin D-deficiency. The medication was never authorised in Luxembourg simply because the producing laboratory never asked for an authorisation”, Oliver Lepanto, pharmaceutical inspector at the Ministry of Health, explains.
France’s ANSM agency, that oversees the safety of medicines and health products, meanwhile said it had taken the suspension measure “as a precaution” after investigations showed “a probable link between the death and the administration of Uvesterol D”. The 10-day-old baby died on December 21 after being given Uvesterol D, a popular brand of drops prescribed for children suffering from vitamin D deficiency.
D-Cure in Luxembourg
ANSM has previously issued warnings about how the supplement is administered — with a pipette — following cases of respiratory problems, especially among premature babies and newborns. The agency said Wednesday it would suspend the marketing of Uvesterol D in the coming days.
But how do paediatricians treat vitamin D-deficiencies in Luxembourg? A medication called D-CURE is used.
“The administering mode of D-CURE is different from the one for Uvesterol”, Lepanto goes on, “these are drinkable drops that can be added to the nursing bottles instead of using a pipette”.
Commenting on the on-going investigation in France, Lepanto said one has to wait for the results: “For really small infants, putting a pipette in their mouth can be interpreted like an aggression by the baby’s body, which could explain the continuous problems that occurred in France”.
“In Luxembourg, doctors prescribe D-CURE and we never had any reports of problems or even deaths”, concludes Lepanto and adds, “this whole affair surrounding Uvesterol should not worry parents to the point that they don’t give vitamin D to their children any more; it is an extremely important part for the growth and development of children.”