January 27, 2014
1 min read

Vitamin D supplements helped reduce pain in fibromyalgia patients

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Patients with fibromyalgia who achieved optimized calcifediol levels through vitamin D supplementation experienced reduced pain perception, according to recent study results.

“Patients suffering from fibromyalgia syndrome with a proven vitamin D deficiency in the serum should be supplemented with vitamin D, and the blood level of [serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D] should be brought to an upper normal level,” researcher Florian Wepner, MD, of the department of orthopaedic pain management, spine unit, Orthopaedic Hospital Speising, Vienna, Austria, told Healio.com. “This cannot cure the complex of symptoms completely, but may help to reduce the pain.”

Florian Wepner, MD 

Florian Wepner

Wepner and colleagues studied 30 patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS; mean age, 48.37 years; 90% women) with serum calcifediol levels less than 32 ng/mL (80 nmol/L) who were randomly assigned to a treatment (n=15) or control group (n=15). Treated patients received 2,400 IU daily (serum calcifediol levels less than 60 nmol/L) or 1,200 IU daily (60-80 nmol/L) of cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) dissolved in a triglyceride solution. Triglyceride solution without cholecalciferol was given to controls. Researchers attempted to maintain patients’ calcifediol levels between 80 nmol/L and 120 nmol/L for 20 weeks. After an additional 24 weeks without supplementation, researchers reevaluated both groups.

The study’s primary aim was to determine whether high levels of serum calcifediol could reduce pain, measured through visual analog scale (VAS) score.

No significant difference was observed in baseline serum calcifediol levels between groups. Treated patients displayed a marked reduction in VAS score during treatment compared with controls whose VAS score remained constant. This correlated with the Short Form (36) Health Survey 36 physical functioning scale.

One treated patient experienced mild hypercalcemia, leading to interruption of cholecalciferol and a return to normal range calcium levels. Otherwise, only transient adverse events were reported, with none directly related to study medication.

“It is important that FMS patients should also be treated regarding international guidelines, including a multimodal therapy approach,” Wepner said. – Bruce Thiel


Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.