Objective:To determine whether low-cost treatment of HIV using vitamin A would be beneficial, we examined the effect of vitamin A supplementation on morbidity of HIV-1 infected women.Methods: We conducted a randomized, double blind placebo-controlled trial at King Edward VIII Hospital, in Durban, South Africa. In total, 312 HIV-seropositive pregnant women between 28 and 32 weeks' gestation were recruited into this trial. Patients were randomized to receive placebo or 5000 IU retinyl palmitate and 30 mg beta-carotene daily. At delivery of their children, patients received placebo or 200,000 IU retinyl palmitate. The main outcome measures were pre- and postnatal report of HIV-related symptoms.Results: Vitamin A did not confer any significant beneficial effect on the report of either HIV or pregnancy-related symptoms during the pre- or postnatal period.Conclusion: In this study of HIV-infected pregnant women, vitamin A supplementation given in doses designed to decrease mother-to-infant transmission did not result in significant beneficial effect on reported symptoms pre- or postnatally. Further investigation with larger number of participants, tailoring supplementation for specific clinical conditions, outside the context of pregnancy, is required to help clarify the possible clinical benefits of vitamin A.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Chinaro M. Kennedy, Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University, 600 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, U.S.A.
Manuscript received October 18, 1999; accepted February 16, 2000.
© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.