Knowledge, attitude and practice of vitamin supplementation among patients visiting out-patient physicians in a teaching hospital in Karachi

Document Type



Community Health Sciences; Family Medicine



To determine the knowledge, attitude and practices regarding the use of vitamin supplements among patients visiting Out-Patient clinics of a teaching hospital.


Four hundred patients were interviewed during the period of July to September 2008, at the Out-patient clinics, Aga Khan University hospital, Karachi. A pre-tested and structured questionnaire was used to collect information. It consisted of questions regarding demographics, awareness of vitamin supplements and its consumption, reasons for usage and its effects. The purpose of the study was explained and assurance of confidentiality was given. After obtaining written consent, eligible individuals were interviewed. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 19.0 was used to analyze the data.


The results revealed that 98% of the respondents were aware of vitamin supplements. The most known vitamin was found to be Vitamin C (16.9%) with Vitamin K being the least well-known (0.4%); while 51.8% of the respondents were unaware of the harmful effects of vitamin supplements. The results also showed that 84.8% of the study population had taken vitamin supplements, and 79% of the participants considered that vitamin supplements to be helpful. Taking vitamin supplements as a compensation for the deficiencies in the body was the most frequently chosen answer (17.7%) as the reason for use of vitamin supplements. On the other hand, a majority of the population was unaware of the indications for use of vitamin supplements.


This study highlights a very significant yet ignored issue of vitamin supplementation in Pakistan. A need exists to inform the general population about the use of vitamin supplementation. The media and the medical community are required to play their role in this regard. Short/ refresher training courses are needed for doctors to update and disseminate adequate knowledge of vitamin supplementation to their patients.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Oman Medical Journal