Background: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of vitamin D to prevent COPD exacerbations have yielded conflicting results. Individual participant data meta-analysis could identify factors that explain this variation. Methods: PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Web of Science were searched from inception up to and including 5 October 2017 to identify RCTs of vitamin D supplementation in patients with COPD that reported incidence of acute exacerbations. Individual participant data meta-analysis was performed using fixed effects models adjusting for age, sex, Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease spirometric grade and trial. Results: Four eligible RCTs (total 560 participants) were identified; individual participant data were obtained for 469/472 (99.4%) participants in three RCTs. Supplementation did not influence overall rate of moderate/severe COPD exacerbations (adjusted incidence rate ratio (aIRR) 0.94, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.13). Prespecified subgroup analysis revealed that protective effects were seen in participants with baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels <25 nmol/L (aIRR 0.55, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.84) but not in those with baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels ≥25 nmol/L (aIRR 1.04, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.27; p for interaction=0.015). Vitamin D did not influence the proportion of participants experiencing at least one serious adverse event (adjusted OR 1.16, 95% CI 0.76 to 1.75). Conclusions: Vitamin D supplementation safely and substantially reduced the rate of moderate/severe COPD exacerbations in patients with baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels <25 nmol/L but not in those with higher levels.
- COPD exacerbations