European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 178, Issue 7, pp 1119–1123 | Cite as

Prescription of vitamin D among Swiss pediatricians

  • Maristella Santi
  • Marco Janner
  • Giacomo D. Simonetti
  • Sebastiano A. G. LavaEmail author
Original Article


The traditional recommendation that Swiss children receive vitamin D during the first year of life was recently extended to the second and third year of life and during winter for older children. The aim of the study was to identify how Swiss pediatricians prescribe vitamin D. Between December 2016 and March 2017, 795 (52%) of 1530 invited Swiss board-certified pediatricians answered a closed-ended questionnaire. Respondents routinely prescribe vitamin D supplements in infants ≤ 1 year of age, but infrequently in children ≥ 3 years of age. Only a minority of them prescribe vitamin D in children with conditions that predispose to poor vitamin D status. Oily vitamin D preparations are the most popular and are usually prescribed in a once-a-day regimen. In situations like intake of drugs interfering with vitamin D metabolism, intestinal malabsorption, and diabetes mellitus, Swiss pediatricians often seek the advice of a subspecialist. In cases with clinical suspicion of poor vitamin D status, the diagnosis is confirmed by the determination of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Conclusion: Few pediatricians prescribe a vitamin D supplementation in children ≥ 3 years of age. Collaboration between policymakers and health care professionals is required to fill the gap between guidelines and clinical practice.

What is Known:

• In Switzerland, vitamin D supplementation is recommended during the first, second, and third year of life as well as during winter for older children.

• Both alcoholic and oily preparations are currently available.

What is New:

• Swiss pediatricians routinely prescribe vitamin D in infants ≤ 1 year of age, but infrequently in children ≥ 3 years of age.

• Oily vitamin D preparations are the most popular and are usually prescribed in a once-a-day regimen.


Vitamin D Supplementation Guidelines Adherence Survey 


Authors’ contributions

Study concept, study design, inquiry development: MS, SAGL.

Pilot testing of the instrument: MS, GDS.

Programming and management of the survey website: MS, GDS, SAGL.

Email invitations to the participants: MS.

Statistical analysis: MS, SAGL.

Drafting of the manuscript: MS, MJ, SAGL.

Critical revision of the manuscript: MS, MJ, GDS, SAGL.

Final manuscript: MS, MJ, GDS, SAGL.


This research was supported by the Advisory Board for Research of the Ente Ospedaliero, Canton Ticino (Switzerland), and by the Ettore Balli Foundation.

Compliance with ethical statements

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article, being a survey among health professionals, does not contain any clinical or experimental studies with human participants or animals. Participants received information on the study and (anonymous) study participation via an invitation email containing a link to the survey’s website. Participation in the questionnaire following reading of the email implied consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity Children’s Hospital of Bern, InselspitalBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Pediatric Institute of Southern Switzerland, Ospedale San Giovanni, BellinzonaUniversità della Svizzera ItalianaLuganoSwitzerland
  3. 3.Pediatric Cardiology Unit, Department of PediatricsLausanne University Hospital and University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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