Association Between Vitamin D Supplementation, Multiple Sclerosis Relapse Still Unclear

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The information collected from each patient’s chart review included data on vitamin D supplementation, MS relapse occurrence, and number of relapses.
The information collected from each patient’s chart review included data on vitamin D supplementation, MS relapse occurrence, and number of relapses.
The following article is part of conference coverage from the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers in Nashville, Tennesssee. Neurology Advisor's staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from CMSC 2018.

Vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of relapse among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, held May 30-June 2 in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Relapsing-remitting MS is the most common form of MS where the relapses lead to progressive disability,” according to the study investigators. The researchers hypothesized that “MS patients who were taking vitamin D would have a lower recurrence of relapse when compared to MS patients who were not taking vitamin D.”

The investigators performed a retrospective chart review of patients with MS who presented to the ambulatory neurologic clinic between January 2015 and March 2017. The information collected from each patient's chart review included data on vitamin D supplementation, MS relapse occurrence, and number of relapses. For the primary outcome, investigators compared patients taking vitamin D (n=38) vs patients not taking vitamin D (n=62) to determine the association between supplementation and MS relapse.

At presentation, approximately 93% of patients had relapsing-remitting MS, 4% had secondary progressive MS, and 2% had primary progressive MS. Doses of vitamin D2 and D3 were 600 to 50,000 units/d and 1000 to 50,000 units/d, respectively. Of the 38 patients who were taking vitamin D, 6 experienced a relapse. Comparatively, 19 of the 62 patients not taking vitamin D had a relapse. There was a nonsignificant association between vitamin D supplementation and MS relapse (χ2 [1, N=100] = 2.04; odds ratio 0.42; 95% CI, 0.15-1.19; P =.15). Number of relapses did not significantly differ between patients taking vitamin D (median relapse[s] = 0, range = 0-4) and those not taking vitamin D (median relapse[s] = 0, range = 0-7) units = 1006.0; P =.11).

Although the study demonstrated a lower relapse rate among patients with MS who supplemented their diet with vitamin D, the analysis did not reach statistical significance. This finding precludes the ability to determine the wide-scale applicability of vitamin D supplementation in the MS population.

“Our retrospective study shows a lower proportion of relapse in the vitamin D group compared to the non–vitamin D group, which did not reach statistical significance. This study helps us estimate the needed sample size for a future prospective study adjusting for potential confounders,” concluded the researchers.

For more coverage of CMSC 2018, click here.

Reference

Pokharna R, Reese M, Sen S. Effect of vitamin D on multiple sclerosis relapse. Presented at: 32nd Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers. May 30-June 2, 2018; Nashville, TN. Abstract CA02.

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