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March 5, 1982

Protracted Hypervitaminosis A Following Long-term, Low-Level Intake

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatric Neurology, Carle Clinic, Urbana, Ill (Dr Farris), and the Department of Food Science, University of Illinois, Urbana (Dr Erdman).

JAMA. 1982;247(9):1317-1318. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320340071041

LITERATURE reports of hypervitaminosis A in children and adults are not uncommon. Bauernfeind1 has compiled a list of 579 cases of acute or chronic hypervitaminosis A. The occurrence of vitamin A toxicity may be greater than suspected, as some cases may be misdiagnosed as idiopathic benign intracranial hypertension (pseudotumor cerebri). Infants and children are far more sensitive to high intakes of the vitamin than are adults. Chronic symptoms of the disorder are seen with intakes from about 2,500 to 50,000 IU/kg of body weight, with more sensitivity shown by infants.1

We present an unusual case of hypervitaminosis A in which the level of intake was low (ten times the recommended daily allowance), but the severity and duration of the symptoms and elevation of serum retinol binding protein were prolonged.

Report of a Case  A 16-year-old boy complained of bifrontal headache associated with nausea for five to eight days,