According to new research, existing recommendations for the treatment of vitamin-D deficiency in patients with cystic fibrosis are not strong enough. Researchers found that the recommendations from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) left most patients in the study at high risk for bone loss and rickets.

Nearly half the 262 children with CF who participated in the study were vitamin-D deficient. The majority of those participants remained vitamin-D deficient, even after receiving restorative doses equal to or higher than the amount called for by the CFF recommendations.

“These findings are a big wake-up call not only because they show that many children with CF are lacking vitamin D, but also because the deficiency persists even in those children who are treated with weekly doses twice or three times as high as the current recommendations,” says Deanna Green, MD, lead researcher from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. “Clearly, there is an urgent need to find more effective ways to restore healthy vitamin-D levels.”

The researchers say that physicians should think about increasing the vitamin-D intake beyond the current recommendations in those CF patients who are vitamin-D deficient. They also recommend checking vitamin-D levels once a year in all patients with CF.