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3X more vitamin D from the sun if take MS drug Interferon-β – July 2012

Interferon-? and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D interact to modulate relapse risk in MS.

Neurology. 2012 Jul 17;79(3):254-60. Epub 2012 Jun 13.
Stewart N, Simpson S Jr, van der Mei I, Ponsonby AL, Blizzard L, Dwyer T, Pittas F, Eyles D, Ko P, Taylor BV bruce.taylor at utas.edu.au

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether interferon-? (IFN-?) medication use is associated with vitamin D levels and whether the two interact in exerting effects on relapse risk.

METHODS: In a prospective cohort of 178 persons with clinically definite multiple sclerosis (MS) living in southern Tasmania in 2002-2005, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] was measured biannually, with assessment by questionnaire for relevant factors, including IFN-? treatment.

RESULTS: Subjects reporting IFN-? use had significantly higher mean 25(OH)D than persons who did not (p < 0.001). This was mediated by an interaction between personal sun exposure and IFN-?, with treated persons realizing nearly three times 25(OH)D per hour of sun exposure of persons not on therapy. The association between 25(OH)D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D did not differ by IFN-? therapy (p = 0.82).

25(OH)D was associated with a reduced relapse risk only among persons on IFN-? (p < 0.001).

Importantly, IFN-? was only protective against relapse among persons with higher 25(OH)D (hazard ratio [HR] 0.58 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.35-0.98]), while among 25(OH)D-insufficient persons, IFN-? increased relapse risk (HR 2.01 [95% CI 1.22-3.32]).

CONCLUSION: In this study, we found that IFN-? therapy is associated with greater production of vitamin D from sun exposure, suggesting part of the therapeutic effects of IFN-? on relapse in MS may be through modulation of vitamin D metabolism. These findings suggest persons being treated with IFN-? should have vitamin D status monitored and maintained in the sufficiency range. Classification of evidence: This study provided Class III evidence that IFN-? is associated with reduced risk of relapse, and this effect may be modified by a positive effect of IFN-? on serum 25(OH)D levels.

PMID: 22700816
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Hmm: Vitamin D compared to interferon-?

  • Much better at decreasing frequency and intensity of MS relapses
  • Prevents MS
  • No side effects (vs MS drugs)
  • 2000X lower cost than interferon-?
  • However, interferon-? is supported by profits in big pharma and income to the medical profession
    Suspect, for example, that doctors get 10X to 100X more for monitoring interferon treatment than for monitoring Vitamin D treatment
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