Rapid vs Maintenance Vitamin D Supplementation in Deficient Children With Asthma to Prevent Exacerbations

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Whether vitamin D reduces clinically important exacerbations of childhood asthma remains uncertain. We compared rapid to maintenance vitamin D repletion analyzed by baseline vitamin D level.


Children presenting to the ED with moderate-to-severe asthma exacerbations and vitamin D levels ≤ 25 ng/mL underwent masked randomization, and then open dosing to either IM+oral (the latter daily) therapy or daily oral-only therapy, and were followed for 12 months. The primary outcome was patient-initiated unplanned visits for asthma exacerbations, examined two ways: cumulative proportions with an exacerbation, and average exacerbation frequency. As this was a nutrient study, we analyzed treatment groups by quartile of baseline vitamin D level, collecting repeat levels and clinical observations at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after enrollment.


One hundred and sixteen patients in the IM+oral cohort vs 115 in the oral-only cohort had similar mean (SD) baseline levels: 15.1 (5.4) vs 15.8 (5.2) ng/mL (range, 3-25 ng/mL). There was no difference in the primary outcome over the entire 12-month observation period. However, rapid IM+oral supplementation significantly reduced unplanned visits for asthma exacerbations for children with baseline levels of 3 to 11 ng/mL during the initial 3 months: the relative exacerbation rate for the IM+oral cohort compared with the oral-only cohort at 3 months was 0.48 (95% CI, 0.28-0.89; P = .008); average exacerbation frequency per child analysis, relative rate 0.36 (95% CI, 0.13-0.87; P = .017). Otherwise, there were no significant differences between groups.


Rapid compared to maintenance vitamin D supplementation for children with the lowest levels resulted in short- but not long-term reduction in asthma exacerbations.

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