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Vitamin D Testing in the General Population: A Review of the Clinical and Cost-Effectiveness and Guidelines

Last updated: January 16, 2015
Project Number: RC0626-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Drug
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report


  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of vitamin D testing in the general population?
  2. What is the cost-effectiveness of vitamin D testing in the general population?
  3. What are the evidence-based guidelines associated with vitamin D testing in the general population?

Key Message

​There is limited evidence of varying quality suggesting that vitamin D testing is not warranted in the general population. Based on indirect evidence from studies investigating the effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation, two guidelines 23,24 and a systematic review concluded that vitamin D screening may be beneficial for populations at increased risk for vitamin D deficiency but not normal risk populations. These views were supported by results from one retrospective study, which suggested that vitamin D testing does not translate into improvements in vitamin D status. The majority of studies failed to identify direct evidence on the clinical utility of vitamin D testing. Conflicting economic evidence suggests that vitamin D testing may be cost-effective for reducing falls in older adults in the US, but not for reducing treatment costs in older adults or other at-risk groups in the UK.