Tuesday, October 10, 2017
A study reported on August 31, 2017 in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases uncovered a more than five times greater prevalence of neuropathic pain in rheumatoid arthritis patients with deficient vitamin D levels in comparison with those who had normal levels.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation, joint destruction, disability and significant pain. The study is the first to investigate the role of vitamin D in the development of neuropathic pain among rheumatoid arthritis patients.
The multicenter study included 93 men and women with rheumatoid arthritis, among whom one-third were diagnosed with neuropathic pain according to Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (LANSS) questionnaire responses. Subjects who had serum 25-hydroxyvitamin vitamin D levels that averaged 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) and lower were classified as deficient, while those with levels of 30 ng/mL and higher were classified as normal.
Higher LANSS scores were correlated with lower serum levels of vitamin D. Neuropathic pain was 5.8 times more likely to be diagnosed among subjects with vitamin D deficiency compared to those whose levels were normal.
“Our study raises awareness of the need to screen for vitamin D deficiency in rheumatoid arthritis patients with neuropathic pain,” Hilal Yesil and colleagues write. “With a relatively easy, safe and inexpensive vitamin D supplement, patients could have more satisfactory outcomes in the management of neuropathic pain. This approach could decrease the morbidity associated with vitamin D deficiency and prevent unnecessary drug use.”
“There is a need for further prospective studies to identify new treatment protocols consisting of vitamin D supplementation for neuropathic complaints in vitamin D-deficient rheumatoid arthritis patients,” they conclude.