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Clinical trial launches to see whether vitamin D helps treat multiple sclerosis

New York Doctors at several centers across the U.S. are recruiting people who have multiple sclerosis (MS) to determine the effectiveness of high-dose vitamin D supplements for reducing MS disease activity. The vitamins would be added to standard therapy with glatiramer acetate (Copaxone, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries). The study, funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, is being led by Ellen Mowry, MD, MCR, at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Other cities with centers recruiting participants include Portland, St. Louis, and San Francisco, and additional centers are being established.

A number of genetic and environmental factors influence whether a person will get MS. These factors may also impact the severity of the disease. Mounting evidence has been pointing to a reduced level of vitamin D in the blood as a risk factor for developing MS. In lab mice, vitamin D can reduce the effects of EAE, an MS-like disease, and growing evidence suggests it is time to test whether vitamin D can provide benefits to people who have MS.

Investigators are seeking 172 clinical trial participants between the ages of 18 and 50, who have been diagnosed with the relapsing-remitting form of MS. More details on the enrollment criteria are available at:

Participants will begin standard Copaxone treatment daily and will be randomly assigned to take the current recommended daily allowance of vitamin D or a high dose. The primary goal of the study is to determine whether vitamin D can reduce the proportion of people who experience a relapse. Other outcomes being studied include relapse rates, quality of life, brain tissue volume, disability progression, and safety.


Contact: Arney Rosenblat
National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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