Childhood cancer, intramuscular vitamin K, and pethidine given during labour.

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Childhood cancer, intramuscular vitamin K, and pethidine given during labour.

Golding J, et al. BMJ. 1992.


Golding J1, Greenwood R, Birmingham K, Mott M.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Child Health, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Bristol.


BMJ. 1992 Aug 8;305(6849):341-6.


OBJECTIVE: To assess unexpected associations between childhood cancer and pethidine given in labour and the neonatal administration of vitamin K that had emerged in a study performed in the 1970 national birth cohort.

DESIGN AND SETTING: 195 children with cancer diagnosed in 1971-March 1991 and born in the two major Bristol maternity hospitals in 1965-87 were compared with 558 controls identified from the delivery books for the use of pethidine during labour and administration of vitamin K.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Odds ratios for cancer in the presence of administration of pethidine or of intramuscular vitamin K. Both logistic regression and Mantel-Haenszel techniques were used for statistical analyses.

RESULTS: Children of mothers given pethidine in labour were not at increased risk of cancer (odds ratio 1.05, 95% confidence interval 0.7 to 1.5) after allowing for year and hospital of delivery, but there was a significant association (p = 0.002) with intramuscular vitamin K (odds ratio 1.97, 95% confidence interval 1.3 to 3.0) when compared with oral vitamin K or no vitamin K. There was no significantly increased risk for children who had been given oral vitamin K when compared with no vitamin K (odds ratio 1.15, 95% confidence interval 0.5 to 2.7). These results could not be accounted for by other factors associated with administration of intramuscular vitamin K, such as type of delivery or admission to a special care baby unit.

CONCLUSIONS: The only two studies so far to have examined the relation between childhood cancer and intramuscular vitamin K have shown similar results, and the relation is biologically plausible. The prophylactic benefits against haemorrhagic disease are unlikely to exceed the potential adverse effects from intramuscular vitamin K. Since oral vitamin K has major benefits but no obvious adverse effects this could be the prophylaxis of choice.

Skip that Newborn Vitamin K Shot


One of the very first things on a doctor or midwife’s to do list after the birth of your baby is an injection of vitamin K. The purpose of this shot is to assist the newborn with blood clotting capabilities in order to prevent the very rare and slow problem of bleeding into the brain in the weeks after birth (risk in about one in every 10,000 live births). Continue reading Skip that Newborn Vitamin K Shot

Vitamin K – About and Side Effects

A few years ago my husband told me a story of how he was rushed to a NICU several miles away just 12 hrs after he was born..Doctors first thought he had a hole in his heart. Then they thought a valve was opening the wrong way….then they discovered his blood was too thick. They were able to give him a blood thinner and within 24 hrs he was released. When he told me that last part, I immediately thought “vitamin K”. But did they give routine vitamin K in 1981? His family didn’t choose RIC so why would he have been given vitamin K? Well, flash forward to tonight, my mother in law is visiting with his baby book and we had already been talking about some of the issues my husband has had as a result of vaccines and why we believe vaccines are dangerous. She was already pretty convinced that some of his current health problems were vaccine related due to military vaccines but she wasn’t willing to fully admit he may have been injured as a baby. Now we have the proof. She and her mother just screamed when I pointed out this pic tucked away behind some others. They had never in 34 years noticed it and didn’t even know he had been given vitamin K. But here it is. The culprit that almost killed him.

Continue reading Vitamin K – About and Side Effects