Vitamin D3 Supplementation Improves Outcomes, Limits Costs in IBD

JOHNSON CITY, TN — The use of a vitamin D3 supplement not only improved outcomes in veterans with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to a greater extent than a vitamin D2 formulation but also was better in limiting healthcare costs and expenses, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by researchers from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, was published recently in the journal Geriatrics & Gerontology International.1

Background in the article noted that vitamin D deficiency is a global health issue associated with increased healthcare costs and could play a role in the pathogenesis and management of IBD, adding that prior studies indicated a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in veterans suffering from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

“We aimed to examine the outcome differences in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, comparing treatment with ergocalciferol to cholecalciferol,” the authors wrote.

For the study, researchers carried out a retrospective review of electronic medical records of 108 patients with IBD at a VAMC in the southeastern United States. Veterans with at least one serum 25(OH) vitamin D level were included, and initial and follow-up vitamin D values were recorded. With documentation of the type of vitamin D supplementation — cholecalciferol or ergocalciferol — costs in the year after measurement of vitamin D were divided into separate inpatient and outpatient categories.

Results showed differences in follow-up vitamin D levels. Patients receiving weekly ergocalciferol had higher subsequent vitamin D levels than those who received cholecalciferol, especially at a second follow-up, although differences did not achieve statistical significance. Veterans taking vitamin D3, however, were less likely to use laboratory, pharmacy, radiology and fee-based services, and had lower laboratory and pharmacy costs, the authors pointed out.

1Youssef D, Bailey B, Atia A, El-Abbassi A, Manning T, Peiris AN. Differences in outcomes between cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol supplementation in veterans with inflammatory bowel disease. Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2012 Jul;12(3):475-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0594.2011.00798.x. Epub 2012 Jan 10. PubMed. PMID: 22233182.

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