Pharmacological Uses of Vitamin K

The pharmacological uses of vitamin K are in the treatment of (rare) vitamin K deficiency, prophylaxis in newborn infants (Section 5.4.1), and as an antidote to overcome anticoagulant toxicity. Because of its cytoxic effects, menadione has been used in cancer chemotherapy. It also potentiates the analgesic actions of salicylates and opiates, and has been used to enhance pain relief in cancer patients.

It has been suggested that supplements may be beneficial in the healing of bone fractures. There is some evidence that patients with osteoporosis (Section 3.4.3) have low circulating concentrations of vitamin K, and some evidence that supplements ofvitaminKmay retard the progression of osteoporosis (Vermeer etal., 1995, 1996; Feskanichet al., 1999).


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Suttie JW (1988) Vitamin K-dependent carboxylation of glutamyl residues in proteins. Biofactors 1, 55-60.

Suttie JW (1995) The importance of menaquinones in human nutrition. Annual Reviews of Nutrition 15, 399-417.

Suttie JWand Jackson CM (1977) Prothrombin structure, activation, and biosynthesis. Physiological Reviews 57, 1-70.

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References cited in the text are listed in the Bibliography.

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