Use of Oral Steroids Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency

Steroid users have more than two-fold increased risk of vitamin D deficiency than steroid nonusers

THURSDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The use of oral steroids is associated with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) deficiency, according to a study published online Sept. 28 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Amy L. Skversky, M.D., from the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues investigated the correlation between serum 25(OH)D deficiency (defined as 25(OH)D <10 ng/ml) and oral steroid use in a nationally representative U.S. sample from the 2001 to 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The robustness of the associations was examined in a multivariable model using data from NHANES III (1988 to 1994). Data on serum 25(OH)D levels and other potential confounders were available for 22,650 children, adolescents, and adults from 2001 to 2006 NHANES, 181 of which had used steroids in the past 30 days. Serum 25(OH)D deficiency was the main outcome measure.

The investigators identified serum 25(OH)D levels below 10 ng/ml in 5 percent of the participants. Serum 25(OH)D levels below 10 ng/ml were found in 11 and 5 percent of steroid users and nonusers, respectively. Steroid users had significantly higher odds of having 25(OH)D deficiency than steroid nonusers (odds ratio [OR], 2.36). The association persisted after multivariate adjustments and in a multivariable model using NHANES III data (OR, 2.21 and 1.88, respectively).

"Steroid use is independently associated with 25(OH)D deficiency in this nationally representative cohort," the authors write.

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