THURSDAY, Sept. 8, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The risk for COVID-19 diagnosis and COVID-19-related death is increased for individuals prescribed folic acid supplementation, according to a study published online Aug. 24 in BMJ Open.

Ruth Topless, from the University of Otago in New Zealand, and colleagues examined whether methotrexate or folic acid prescription was associated with the differential risk for COVID-19 diagnosis or mortality in a case-control analysis using data from 380,380 U.K. Biobank participants. A total of 26,003 individuals were identified with COVID-19, 820 of whom were known to have died from COVID-19.

The researchers found that people prescribed folic acid supplementation had an increased risk for COVID-19 diagnosis compared with those prescribed neither folic acid nor methotrexate (odds ratio, 1.51). There was no association between prescription of methotrexate with or without folic acid and COVID-19 diagnosis. A positive association was seen with death after a diagnosis of COVID-19 for people prescribed folic acid supplementation (odds ratio, 2.64). No association was observed between the prescription of methotrexate in combination with folic acid and an increased risk for COVID-19-related death.

“Our findings justify future studies on the influence of folic acid supplementation on COVID-19 outcomes, particularly in pregnant women and people on anticonvulsants requiring supplementary folic acid,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical, medical device, and health technology industries.

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