Baseline Vitamin D Deficiency Decreases the Effectiveness of Statins in HIV-Infected Adults on Antiretroviral Therapy

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Vitamin D deficiency is common in HIV. Statins may increase vitamin D, and it is unknown whether vitamin D modifies the effect of statins on cardiovascular disease.


SATURN-HIV was a 96-week, randomized, placebo-controlled trial designed to evaluate the effect of rosuvastatin on immune activation and subclinical vascular disease in HIV-infected adults on antiretroviral therapy. This analysis focuses on the prespecified secondary endpoint 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations.


Mixed effects linear modeling and analysis of variance were used to assess the rosuvastatin effect on plasma 25(OH)D concentrations over time and to determine whether baseline vitamin D modifies the rosuvastatin effect on changes in outcomes over the trial.


Hundred forty-seven adults were randomized (72 to rosuvastatin and 75 to placebo); 78% were men, 68% African American, with a mean age of 45 years. Baseline 25(OH)D concentrations were similar (overall mean 18 ng/mL) with 65% of participants below 20 ng/mL. Changes in 25(OH)D at 96 weeks were small and not significant within- or between-rosuvastatin and placebo groups. There were significant group by vitamin D status interactions for changes in low-density lipoprotein–cholesterol, proportion of patrolling monocytes expressing tissue factor (CD14dimCD16+TF+), lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2, and common carotid artery intima media thickness at most time points. For each of these outcomes, the beneficial effects of rosuvastatin were either not apparent or attenuated in participants with 25(OH)D <20 ng/mL.


Although 25(OH)D did not change with rosuvastatin, baseline vitamin D deficiency decreased the effectiveness of rosuvastatin. Vitamin D supplementation may be warranted for deficient patients initiating statin therapy.

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