Sickle cell disease is associated with worse long-term bone health than that of the general population, and SCD patients are more likely to experience vitamin D [25(OH)D] deficiency. Oral vitamin D3 supplementation can achieve protective levels in children with sickle cell disease, and a daily dose was able to achieved optimal blood levels, according to a report published online in Bone.

The researchers performed a prospective, longitudinal, single-center study of 80 children with SCD. They collected demographic, clinical, and management data, as well as 25(OH)D levels. Bone densitometries (DXA) were also collected.

Among the 80 patients were included in the analysis, there were significant differences between the means of 25(OH)D levels based on whether the patient started prophylactic treatment as an infant or not (35.7 vs. 27.9 ng/mL, respectively [P = .014]), according to the researchers.

They also found that, in multivariate analysis, an oral 800 IU daily dose of vitamin D3 was shown to be a protective factor (P = .044) in reaching optimal 25(OH)D blood levels (≥ 30 ng/mL).

Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that those patients younger than 10 years of age reached optimal levels significantly earlier than older patients when on supplementation (P = .002), as did those patients who were not being treated with hydroxyurea (P = .039), the researchers wrote.

Significant differences were seen between the mean bone mineral density in both DXAs performed when comparing suboptimal vs. optimal blood levels of 25(OH)D (0.54 g/cm2 vs. 0.64 g/cm2, respectively, P = .001), for the initial DXA, and for the most recent DXA (0.59 g/cm2 vs. 0.77 g/cm2, respectively, P = .044). “VitD3 prophylaxis is a safe practice in SCD. It is important to start this prophylactic treatment when the child is an infant. The daily regimen with 800 IU could be more effective for reaching levels ≥ 30 ng/mL, and, especially in preadolescent and adolescent patients, we should raise awareness about the importance of good bone health,” the authors concluded.

The authors reported that they had no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Garrido C et al. Bone. 2020;133: doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2020.115228.