High doses of vitamin A are safe and well accepted by preschool children, although evidence from program evaluations and a randomized trial in the Philippines suggests that up to around 9% of preschool children may experience acute transient side-effects including nausea, vomiting, headache, and/or fever after dosing. Most episodes begin within 24 h of capsule receipt and resolve spontaneously within 12-24 h of onset.

Earlier animal experiments linked high doses of vitamin A to birth defects; however, experimental data proving the teratogenic effect of vitamin A in pregnant women are limited and, for ethical reasons, very difficult or even impossible to obtain rigorously. Nonetheless, high doses of vitamin A should be avoided during pregnancy because of the theoretical risk of teratogenesis.

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