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indicationFor the treatment of vitamin A deficiency.
pharmacologyVitamin A is effective for the treatment of Vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A refers to a group of fat-soluble substances that are structurally related to and possess the biological activity of the parent substance of the group called all-trans retinol or retinol. Vitamin A plays vital roles in vision, epithelial differentiation, growth, reproduction, pattern formation during embryogenesis, bone development, hematopoiesis and brain development. It is also important for the maintenance of the proper functioning of the immune system.
mechanism of actionVision:Vitamin A (all-trans retinol) is converted in the retina to the 11-cis-isomer of retinaldehyde or 11-cis-retinal. 11-cis-retinal functions in the retina in the transduction of light into the neural signals necessary for vision. 11-cis-retinal, while attached to opsin in rhodopsin is isomerized to all-trans-retinal by light. This is the event that triggers the nerve impulse to the brain which allows for the perception of light. All-trans-retinal is then released from opsin and reduced to all-trans-retinol. All-trans-retinol is isomerized to 11-cis-retinol in the dark, and then oxidized to 11-cis-retinal. 11-cis-retinal recombines with opsin to re-form rhodopsin. Night blindness or defective vision at low illumination results from a failure to re-synthesize 11-cis retinal rapidly.
Epithelial differentiation: The role of Vitamin A in epithelial differentiation, as well as in other physiological processes, involves the binding of Vitamin A to two families of nuclear retinoid receptors (retinoic acid receptors, RARs; and retinoid-X receptors, RXRs). These receptors function as ligand-activated transcription factors that modulate gene transcription. When there is not enough Vitamin A to bind these receptors, natural cell differentiation and growth are interrupted.
toxicityAcute toxicity (single ingestion of 7 500 RE or 25 000 IU per kg or more): Signs and symptoms may be delayed for 8 to 24 hours and include: increased intracranial pressure, headache, irritability, drowsiness, dizziness, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, bulging of fontanels in infants, diplopia, papilledema. Peeling of skin around mouth may be observed from 1 to several days after ingestion and may spread to the rest of the body. Chronic, excessive ingestion (1 200 RE or 4 000 IU/kg daily for 6 to 15 months) may produce symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri, anorexia, weakness, arthralgias, bone pain, bone demineralization, dry skin, cracked lips, brittle nails, hair loss, splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, hypoplastic anemia, leukopenia, optic neuropathy, and blindness. Increased plasma concentrations of vitamin A occur but do not necessarily correlate with toxicity.
biotransformationHepatic. Retinol is conjugated with glucuronic acid; the B-glucuronide undergoes enterohepatic circulation and oxidation to retinol and retinoic acid. Retinoic acid undergoes decarboxylation and conjugation with glucuronic acid.
absorptionReadily absorbed from the normal gastrointestinal tract
half life1.9 hours
drug interactionsAcitretin: Acitretin increases the risk of vitamin A toxicity. Avoid vitamin A supplementation while taking acitretin.
Bexarotene: Bexarotene increases the risk of vitamin A toxicity. Avoid vitamin A supplementation while taking bexarotene.
Isotretinoin: Isotretinoin increases the risk of vitamin A toxicity. Avoid vitamin A supplementation while taking isotretinoin.
Orlistat: Orlistat may impair the absorption of vitamin A, a fat soluble vitamin. Oral vitamin A should be administered 2 hours prior to or post orlistat administration.
Tretinoin: Tretinoin increases the risk of vitamin A toxicity. Avoid vitamin A supplementation while taking systemic tretinoin.