INTRODUCTION: Vitamins are frequently included in physicians' prescriptions. Our study aims to determine the physicians' knowledge about vitamins and nutrition, detect the factors affecting their vitamin prescribing, and gain information about their vitamin prescribing behaviors.
METHODS: Our study included 368 physicians who volunteered to participate in the study. We prepared and used a questionnaire, which consisted of 7 questions about sociodemographic data, 13 questions about nutrition knowledge, 13 questions about physicians' attitudes towards prescribing vitamins, and seven questions about the factors affecting the vitamin prescribing behaviors of physicians.
RESULTS: The most frequently recommended supplements by physicians were vitamin D (62.50%), vitamin C (56.25%), and vitamin B12 (54.89%). Physicians with 11 years or more years in the profession (p<0.001) and internal medical sciences physicians (p<0.001) gave more correct answers to the knowledge questions. About the frequency of prescribing and recommending vitamins to their patients as supplements, 93 (25.27%) participants said they never did that, 242 (65.76%) said they rarely did that, and 33 (8.97%) said they frequently did that. 90 physicians (24.46%) stated that they prescribed vitamins only upon the patient's request. Only 37 (10.05%) participants considered themselves competent in terms of nutrition knowledge about vitamins. Female physicians used vitamin supplements more (p<0.001). Moreover, 305 (82.88%) physicians said that patients who requested vitamin supplements were mostly women.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: We found that the majority of our participants gave a negative response to the requests to prescribe vitamins as supplements. Participants considered themselves lacking in nutrition knowledge about vitamins.