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Which vitamin K preparation for the newborn?
  • Relevant BNF section: 9.6.6


Newborn babies are at risk of bleeding as a result of vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K supplements given at birth reduce this risk but it is not clear which preparation should be used. Until the early 1990s, it was standard practice to give vitamin K as a single intramuscular injection at birth (Konakion Ampoules 1mg/0.5ml - Roche). Studies published in 19901 and 19922 suggested a possible link between intramuscular vitamin K injection and childhood cancers, particularly leukaemias. Our response was to recommend that vitamin K injection be given orally (not then a licensed route) until a licensed oral preparation became available.3 Such a preparation is now marketed as Konakion MM Paediatric (Roche). In addition, the suggested association between intramuscular vitamin K and cancer has been further investigated. In this article, we update our advice.

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  • Relevant BNF section: 9.6.6

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