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Ann Intern Med. 2012 Jan 17;156(2):105-14. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-156-2-201201170-00004.

High doses of vitamin D to reduce exacerbations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a randomized trial.

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University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium.



Low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-[OH]D) levels have been associated with lower FEV(1), impaired immunologic control, and increased airway inflammation. Because many patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have vitamin D deficiency, effects of vitamin D supplementation may extend beyond preventing osteoporosis.


To explore whether supplementation with high doses of vitamin D could reduce the incidence of COPD exacerbations.


Randomized, single-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. ( registration number: NCT00666367)


University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


182 patients with moderate to very severe COPD and a history of recent exacerbations.


100,000 IU of vitamin D supplementation or placebo every 4 weeks for 1 year.


The primary outcome was time to first exacerbation. Secondary outcomes were exacerbation rate, time to first hospitalization, time to second exacerbation, FEV(1), quality of life, and death.


Mean serum 25-(OH)D levels increased significantly in the vitamin D group compared with the placebo group (mean between-group difference, 30 ng/mL [95% CI, 27 to 33 ng/mL]; P < 0.001). The median time to first exacerbation did not significantly differ between the groups (hazard ratio, 1.1 [CI, 0.82 to 1.56]; P = 0.41), nor did exacerbation rates, FEV(1), hospitalization, quality of life, and death. However, a post hoc analysis in 30 participants with severe vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-[OH]D levels <10 ng/mL) at baseline showed a significant reduction in exacerbations in the vitamin D group (rate ratio, 0.57 [CI, 0.33 to 0.98]; P = 0.042).


This was a single-center study with a small sample size.


High-dose vitamin D supplementation in a sample of patients with COPD did not reduce the incidence of exacerbations. In participants with severe vitamin D deficiency at baseline, supplementation may reduce exacerbations.


Applied Biomedical Research Program, Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT-TBM).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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