Increased prevalence of neuropathic pain among individuals with rheumatoid arthritis who are deficient in vitamin D
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
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
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