Background Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of vitamin D to prevent COPD exacerbations have yielded conflicting results.
Individual participant data meta-analysis could identify factors that explain this variation.
Methods PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Web of Science were searched from inception up to and including 5 October 2017 to identify RCTs of vitamin D supplementation in patients with COPD that reported incidence of acute exacerbations. Individual participant data meta-analysis was performed using fixed effects models adjusting for age, sex, Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease spirometric grade and trial.
Results Four eligible RCTs (total 560 participants) were identified; individual participant data were obtained for 469/472 (99.4%) participants in three RCTs. Supplementation did not influence overall rate of moderate/severe COPD exacerbations (adjusted incidence rate ratio (aIRR) 0.94, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.13). Prespecified subgroup analysis revealed that protective effects were seen in participants with baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels <25 nmol/L (aIRR 0.55, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.84) but not in those with baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels ≥25 nmol/L (aIRR 1.04, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.27; p for interaction=0.015). Vitamin D did not influence the proportion of participants experiencing at least one serious adverse event (adjusted OR 1.16, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.75).
Conclusions Vitamin D supplementation safely and substantially reduced the rate of moderate/severe COPD exacerbations in patients with baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels <25 nmol/L but not in those with higher levels.
Trial registration number CRD42014013953.
- copd exacerbations
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