Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Progression of Knee Pain and Cartilage Volume Loss in Patients With Symptomatic Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial | Geriatrics | JAMA | JAMA Network
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Original Contribution
January 9, 2013

Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Progression of Knee Pain and Cartilage Volume Loss in Patients With Symptomatic Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Rheumatology, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts (Drs McAlindon and Lee and Ms Nuite); Boston University School of Public Health, Crosstown Center, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr LaValley); Imaging Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio (Dr Schneider); Biostatistics Research Center in the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts (Ms Price); Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Medical Care Line and Research Care Line; Houston VA Health Services Research and Development Center of Excellence, and Section of Immunology, Allergy, and Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas (Dr Lo); Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Dawson-Hughes).

JAMA. 2013;309(2):155-162. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.164487

Importance Knee osteoarthritis (OA), a disorder of cartilage and periarticular bone, is a public health problem without effective medical treatments. Some studies have suggested that vitamin D may protect against structural progression.

Objective To determine whether vitamin D supplementation reduces symptom and structural progression of knee OA.

Design, Setting, and Patients A 2-year randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, clinical trial involving 146 participants with symptomatic knee OA (mean age, 62.4 years [SD, 8.5]; 57 women [61%], 115 white race [79%]). Patients were enrolled at Tufts Medical Center in Boston between March 2006 and June 2009.

Intervention Participants were randomized to receive either placebo or oral cholecalciferol, 2000 IU/d, with dose escalation to elevate serum levels to more than 36 ng/mL.

Main Outcome Measures Primary outcomes were knee pain severity (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities [WOMAC] pain scale, 0-20: 0, no pain; 20, extreme pain), and cartilage volume loss measured by magnetic resonance imaging. Secondary end points included physical function, knee function (WOMAC function scale, 0-68: 0,  no difficulty; 68, extreme difficulty), cartilage thickness, bone marrow lesions, and radiographic joint space width.

Results Eighty-five percent of the participants completed the study. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels increased by a mean 16.1 ng/mL (95% CI, 13.7 to 18.6) in the treatment group and by a mean 2.1 mg/mL (95% CI, 0.5 to 3.7) (P < .001) in the placebo group. Baseline knee pain was slightly worse in the treatment group (mean, 6.9; 95% CI, 6.0 to 7.7) than in the placebo group (mean, 5.8; 95% CI, 5.0 to 6.6) (P = .08). Baseline knee function was significantly worse in the treatment group (mean, 22.7; 95% CI, 19.8 to 25.6) than in the placebo group (mean, 18.5; 95% CI, 15.8 to 21.2) (P = .04). Knee pain decreased in both groups by a mean −2.31 (95% CI, −3.24 to −1.38) in the treatment group and −1.46 (95% CI, −2.33 to −0.60) in the placebo group, with no significant differences at any time. The percentage of cartilage volume decreased by the same extent in both groups (mean, −4.30; 95% CI, −5.48 to −3.12 vs mean, −4.25; 95% CI, −6.12 to −2.39) (P = .96). There were no differences in any of the secondary clinical end points.

Conclusion and Relevance Vitamin D supplementation for 2 years at a dose sufficient to elevate 25-hydroxyvitamin D plasma levels to higher than 36 ng/mL, when compared with placebo, did not reduce knee pain or cartilage volume loss in patients with symptomatic knee OA.

Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00306774