Increased levels of vitamin D were associated with beneficial treatment outcomes, such as better self-perceived health and reduced levels of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein (CRP).
Since 2015, rituximab has been the most commonly used disease-modifying therapy for MS patients in Sweden, despite lacking formal regulatory approval, meaning it is used off-label.
Vitamin D is suggested to have a link with the immune system, and low circulating levels of vitamin D have been associated with an increase of inflammatory activity in MS patients.
At Umeå University Hospital in Sweden, MS patients treated simultaneously with rituximab and vitamin D supplements were found to have less inflammatory activity, suggesting a possible relationship between rituximab-treated MS patients’ vitamin D levels and inflammatory activity.
To further investigate this possibility, researchers at Umeå looked at clinical information on MS patients who had received at least one intravenous (into-the-vein) infusion of either 500 or 1,000 mg of rituximab from March 2008 to March 2015.
The information was collected from yearly clinical visits, and included data on relapses, disability, side effects, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and self-perceived health. Data on laboratory measures, including levels of immune cells associated with inflammation and metabolite 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (which is indicative of vitamin D levels), were also available.
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