Vitamin D Helpful in Subset of Tuberculosis Patients

Genetic subgroup experiences enhanced response to treatment when vitamin D is added

THURSDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- A genetic subgroup of people with pulmonary tuberculosis may experience an enhanced response to therapy when supplemented by high-dose vitamin D, according to research published online Jan. 6 in The Lancet.

To investigate the effect of adjuvant vitamin D therapy on sputum culture conversion, Adrian R. Martineau, of Queen Mary University of London, and colleagues analyzed outcomes in 126 patients randomly assigned to vitamin D or placebo at baseline and 12, 28, and 42 days after starting standard treatment for tuberculosis.

The intervention group experienced a median time to sputum culture conversion of 36 days, compared with 43.5 days for the placebo group (P = 0.14). This enhanced response, however, was seen only in patients with the tt genotype of the TaqI polymorphism. The mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration after 56 days was 101.4 nmol/L in the group that received vitamin D and 22.8 nmol/L in the placebo group.

"Administration of four doses of 2.5 mg vitamin D3 increased serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in patients receiving intensive-phase treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis. Vitamin D did not significantly affect time to sputum culture conversion in the whole study population, but it did significantly hasten sputum culture conversion in participants with the tt genotype of the TaqI vitamin D receptor polymorphism," the authors write.

Merck Serono donated vitamin D and placebo for the study and funded a meeting on vitamin D convened by two study authors.

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