Prescribing patterns of vitamin D and analogues in a private healthcare patient population in South Africa

  • Angela Morris-Paxton
  • Ilse Truter


Introduction: Numerous studies show the benefits of vitamin D: in the prevention of bone disease, supporting the immune system and the prevention and mitigation of cancer. Until recently, supplementation has been deemed unnecessary. Nonetheless, in the light of emerging evidence, some practitioners are adding vitamin D and its analogues (Anatomic Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification code A11CC) to their prescriptions. Therefore, the aim was to determine the medical insurance prescribing patterns of vitamin D in South Africa.
Methods: A retrospective, cross-sectional drug utilisation study was conducted on a South African medical insurance administrator database for 2018. Products in ATC subgroup A11CC (vitamin D and analogues) were extracted and analysed.
Results: A total of 302 patients received 1 164 prescriptions for a vitamin D or analogue product during 2018. The average age of patients was 47.14 (SD = 24.03) years, and the majority were female (58.28%). Very young patients and middle-aged patients received most of the prescriptions. Ergocalciferol (A11CC01) was the most frequently prescribed (59.79%), followed by alfacalcidol (A11CC), colecalciferol (A11CC05) and calcitriol (A11CC04). Ergocalciferol 50 000 IU tablets comprised the most frequently prescribed trade name product (59.45%), followed by alfacalcidol capsules (21.31%).
Conclusion: Vitamin D was used across the age range. Vitamin D supplementation was primarily prescribed in the very young and older age groups, suggesting their need for additional supplementation. As the cost of additional supplements is relatively small compared with the treatment of deficiency disorders, vitamin D supplementation could have broad and positive effects on long-term health for very little outlay.

Keywords: prescribing patterns, vitamin D, vitamin D analogues, vitamin supplementation

How to Cite
Morris-Paxton, A., & Truter, I. (2022). Prescribing patterns of vitamin D and analogues in a private healthcare patient population in South Africa. South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 35(1), 1-7. Retrieved from
Original Research