Vitamin A

Vitamin A Brand Names

  • A Mulsin
  • Aquasol A
  • Dofsol-A

What is Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is available from both plant and animal sources. Animal sources of vitamin A are referred to as retinoids, while carotenoids are the term applied to vitamin A precursors, such as beta-carotene, derived from plants.

Retinoids include retinol and other derivatives (e.g., retinal (retinaldehyde), retinoic acid, and retinyl esters) that have the same activities and beta-ionone ring but differ in the terminal C-15 group at the end of the side chain.

Vitamin A is important for normal vision, gene expression, reproduction, embryonic development, growth, and immune function.

Deficiency of vitamin A is well known to cause xerophthalmia. Sources of preformed vitamin A include eggs, dairy products, meat (especially liver), and oily salt-water fish.

In addition to the treatment and prevention of vitamin A deficiency, vitamin A has been used in the management of keratinization disorders such as ichthyosis and keratosis follicularis; however, its potential for toxicity has led to the investigation of vitamin A analogs, such as tretinoin and isotretinoin, as alternative agents.

Beta-carotene has been used to decrease the severity of photosensitivity reactions in patients with erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP).

Vitamin A is a potentially toxic compound; it should not be regarded as a simple nutrient.

The role of vitamin A and other vitamins as cancer-preventing compounds is unclear. The injectable form of vitamin A is available as an FDA-approved drug. Oral vitamin A products are available as dietary supplements.

Indications

  1. chronic lung disease (CLD)
  2. erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP)
  3. fat malabsorption diagnosis
  4. ichthyosis
  5. measles
  6. nutritional supplementation
  7. retinitis pigmentosa
  8. vitamin A deficiency
  9. xerophthalmia

Side Effects

  1. abdominal pain
  2. alopecia
  3. anaphylactic shock
  4. anaphylactoid reactions
  5. anorexia
  6. ascites
  7. cholestasis
  8. decreased HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) concentration
  9. dysmenorrhea
  10. exophthalmos
  11. growth inhibition
  12. headache
  13. hepatomegaly
  14. hepatotoxicity
  15. hypervitaminosis A
  16. hypotension
  17. increased intracranial pressure
  18. irritability
  19. jaundice
  20. lethargy
  21. leukopenia
  22. malaise
  23. metabolic acidosis
  24. nausea
  25. papilledema
  26. pseudotumor cerebri
  27. skin discoloration
  28. skin hyperpigmentation
  29. teratogenesis
  30. thrombocytopenia
  31. vomiting
  32. xerosis

Monitoring Parameters

  • laboratory monitoring not necessary

Contraindications

  • acne vulgaris
  • breast-feeding
  • hepatic disease
  • hyperlipidemia
  • hypervitaminosis A
  • intravenous administration
  • malnutrition
  • myocardial infarction
  • neonates
  • polysorbate 80 hypersensitivity
  • pregnancy
  • premature neonates
  • tobacco smoking

Interactions

  • Calcium
  • Calcium Carbonate; Risedronate
  • Castor Oil
  • Cholestyramine
  • Colesevelam
  • Colestipol
  • Methoxsalen
  • Mineral Oil
  • Orlistat
  • Porfimer
  • Risedronate
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Sodium Thiosulfate; Salicylic Acid
  • St. John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum
  • Verteporfin
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