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Vitamin D supplementation for the prevention or depletion of side effects of therapy with alemtuzumab in multiple sclerosis

Authors Goischke HK

Received 20 March 2019

Accepted for publication 16 June 2019

Published 12 July 2019 Volume 2019:15 Pages 891—904


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Garry Walsh

Hans-Klaus Goischke

Independent Research, Internal Medicine, Rehabilitation Medicine, Social Medicine, Bad Brückenau, Bavaria, Germany

Purpose of review: Not only the multiple sclerosis specialist but also the general neurologist and primary care practitioner are increasingly aware of possible adverse events (AEs) by treatment with alemtuzumab (over 47% risk of secondary autoimmune-mediated diseases). Vitamin D supplementation’s effect (VDS) to reduce these autoimmune AEs is poorly performed in routine practice. This article seeks to justify why this simple, inexpensive, patient-friendly therapy should be seriously discussed.
Recent findings: Patients who have developed autoimmunity also show a high basal level of IL-21, a cytokine which increases the growth of auto-reactive T-cells. For side effects such as thyroid dysfunction, autoimmune thrombocytopenia, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, autoimmune hepatitis, diabetes mellitus type 1, and alopecia areata/alopecia totalis, VDS may have an impact on the immunological mechanism, in particular lowering levels of IL-17 and IL-21.
Summary: The potential role of vitamin D in influencing autoimmune diseases is evident. If a life-threatening side-effect can be prevented by high-dose VDS, it is ethical to initiate this add-on therapy despite contradictory results in studies on the effectiveness of VDS.

Keywords: alemtuzumab, adverse events, hemolytic and endocrine diseases, autoimmune hepatitis, vitamin D supplementation

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