The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
In Brief: Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements
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The results of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of calcium and vitamin D supplements in more than 36,000 postmenopausal women, conducted as part of the Women’s Health Initiative (RD Jackson et al. N Engl J Med 2006; 354:669), have been misinterpreted by some patients to mean that they should stop taking such supplements.

At the time of recruitment, the participants in this study had an average daily calcium intake of 1100-1200 mg. They were randomized to take either 1000 mg of calcium carbonate plus 400 IU of vitamin D3 or a placebo for an average of 7 years. Both groups were permitted to take calcium and vitamin D supplements on their own as well. In the intention-to-treat population, the study supplements increased hip bone density but did not decrease the incidence of hip fractures. The subgroup of women who adhered to the ... more      

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