Introduction: The use of B-vitamin supplements has increased over the last decade. Although use is widespread in both military and civilian populations, data on patterns of B-vitamin prescription rates are lacking. Objective: This study examines trends in B-vitamin prescriptions dispensed by military treatment facilities. Methods: We examined data from the Department of Defense Pharmacy Data Transaction Service to determine the nature of several B-vitamin prescriptions dispensed through military treatment facilities from 2007 through 2011. The eight B vitamins examined were B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (panthenol), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), and B12 (cobalamin). Results: The number of B-vitamin prescriptions dispensed from military treatment facilities decreased 7% from 278,972 in 2007 to 260,472 in 2011. Individual vitamin prescription patterns varied widely. Vitamins B6, B9, and B12 were the most frequently prescribed in each year. Vitamin B2 prescriptions quadrupled between 2009 and 2011, and B12 prescriptions showed a steady increase over time. In contrast, vitamins B3, B6, and B9 prescriptions showed a steady decline, and vitamin B7 prescriptions decreased by 66% between 2008 and 2009. Conclusions: No single pattern in B-vitamin prescriptions was observed. The driving forces behind increases in prescribed and non-prescribed dietary supplement use remain speculative.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health