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Higher vitamin D levels linked to success of treatment in patients with familial Mediterranean fever

Posted on: July 10, 2015   by  Vitamin D Council


A recent study found that vitamin D levels were significantly lower in familial Mediterranean fever patients who were resistant to treatment compared to those who were responsive to treatment.

Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is an inherited disease characterized by recurrent fevers and painful inflammation of the abdomen, lungs and joints. FMF usually occurs in people of Mediterranean origin, such as Arabs, Greeks, Italians, Armenians and Turks.

Untreated inflammatory attacks can result in amyloidosis, a rare disease that is caused by the development of abnormal protein plaques throughout the body. Severe amyloidosis can lead to organ failure.

Colchicine is a common treatment for FMF. It works by reducing inflammation and preventing attacks. While its discovery has significantly reduced the incidence of amyloidosis in patients with FMF, up to 30% of FMF patients are resistant to colchicine. The etiology of colchicine resistance (CR) remains largely unknown.

Studies have shown that low vitamin D levels are more prevalent in patients with FMF compared to healthy controls. However, no research has evaluated the relationship between vitamin D status and CR.

A research team from Turkey recently aimed to gain insight on this matter by measuring the vitamin D status of 64 patients with FMF. Out of the 64 patients, 29 were considered to be CR. The average vitamin D levels were 9.39 ng/ml and 18.48 ng/ml in the colchicine resistant patients and the colchicine responsive patients, respectively.

The researchers concluded,

“…Vitamin D levels are significantly lower in CR FMF patients than in non-CR FMF patients. This may be a factor which has a role in etiopathogenesis of CR.”


Ozer I., et al. Association between colchicine resistance and vitamin D in familial Mediterranean fever. Renal failure, 2015.

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