Effect of 50 000 IU vitamin A given with BCG vaccine on mortality in infants in Guinea-Bissau: randomised placebo controlled trial

Benn, Christine Stabell; Diness, Birgitte Rode; Roth, Adam; Nante, Ernesto; Fisker, Ane Baerent; Lisse, Ida Maria; Yazdanbakhsh, Maria; Whittle, Hilton; Rodrigues, Amabelia; Aaby, Peter
June 2008
BMJ: British Medical Journal (International Edition);6/21/2008, Vol. 336 Issue 7658, p1416
Academic Journal
Objective To investigate the effect of high dose vitamin A supplementation given with BCG vaccine at birth in an African setting with high infant mortality. Design Randomised placebo controlled trial. Setting Bandim Health Project's demographic surveillance system in Guinea-Bissau, covering approximately 90 000 inhabitants. Participants 4345 infants due to receive BCG. Intervention Infants were randomised to 50 000 IU vitamin A or placebo and followed until age 12 months. Main outcome measure Mortality rate ratios. Results 174 children died during follow-up (mortality=47/ 1000 person-years). Vitamin A supplementation was not significantly associated with mortality; the mortality rate ratio was 1.07 (95% confidence interval 0.79 to 1.44). The effect was 1.00 (0.65 to 1.56) during the first four months and 1.13 (0.75 to 1.68) from 4 to 12 months of age. The mortality rate ratio in boys was 0.84 (0.55 to 1.27) compared with 1.39 (0.90 to 2.14) in girls (P for interactions.10). An explorative analysis revealed a strong interaction between vitamin A and season of administration. Conclusions Vitamin A supplementation given with BCG vaccine at birth had no significant benefit in this African setting. Although little doubt exists that vitamin A supplementation reduces mortality in older children, a global recommendation of supplementation for all newborn infants may not contribute to better survival. Registration Clinical trials NCT00168597.


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