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Vitamin D for the Treatment or Prevention of Multiple Sclerosis: A Review of the Clinical Effectiveness

Last updated: March 10, 2016
Project Number: RC0755-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Drug
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report

Question

  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of multiple sclerosis?
  2. What is the clinical effectiveness of high versus low dose vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of multiple sclerosis?
  3. What is the clinical effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation for the treatment of multiple sclerosis?
  4. What is the clinical effectiveness of high versus low dose vitamin D supplementation for the treatment of multiple sclerosis?

Key Message

Four systematic reviews, eight randomized controlled trials, and three non-randomized studies were identified regarding the clinical effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation for the prevention or treatment of multiple sclerosis. Due to substantial heterogeneity between studies, the evidence for most clinical outcomes was limited and often conflicting. Very limited evidence suggests a potential benefit of vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of MS, but this needs to be verified by future studies. Results of treatment of MS with vitamin D were inconsistent, with most evidence suggesting no effect on disability scores, and relapse rates. There were both positive and negative results for immunologic factors, imaging studies, and functional outcomes. Safety data suggests that high dose vitamin D is well tolerated and associated with minimal risk.