Epilepsy drugs increase risk of fractures and falls

June 28, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- New research has shed light on the high risk of fractures, falls, and osteoporosis among epilepsy patients using antiepileptic drugs with most patients unaware of the risks associated with taking the drugs.

The study led by the University of Melbourne and published in the prestigious Neurology journal, found that people taking are up to four times more likely to suffer , collarbone and ankle fractures and are more likely to have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.

The study also revealed that these patients are more than four times as likely as non-users of antiepileptic drugs to have been diagnosed with .

In addition, treatment affected balance with results showing almost double the falls rate in taking the medication compared with non-users.

Chief Investigator, Prof John Wark from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Medicine at the Royal Melbourne Hospital said this research revealed new information critical to understanding the higher risk for fractures and falls in taking antiepileptic medication.

“We believe patients need to be offered better information to help them to avoid these risks and prevent injury,” he said.

More than 70 percent of epilepsy patients who participated in the study were unaware of the increased risk of fractures, decreased bone mineral density and falls associated with taking antiepileptic medications.

“No published studies have explored epilepsy patients’ awareness of the effects of AEDs on bone health, fracture risk and falls.  This study indicates that awareness of these issues is poor, despite our study population attending specialist epilepsy clinics at a centre with a major interest in this area,” said Prof Wark.

“Most patients indicated they would like to be better informed about these issues, suggesting that more effective education strategies are warranted and would be well-received.”

“Epilepsy patients should be assessed regularly for their history of falls and fractures for appropriate management strategies to be offered.”

The study compared 150 drug users with 506 non-users.  All drug users were outpatients at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, over 15 years old and had been taking AEDs for a minimum of three months.

Collaborators include La Trobe University, the National Ageing Research Institute, and the University of Malaya, Malaysia.

Related Stories

Vascular risk linked to long-term antiepileptic drug therapy

November 15, 2011

New research reveals that patients with epilepsy who were treated for extended periods with older generation antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) may be at increased risk for developing atherosclerosis, a common disorder known as hardening ...

Recommended for you

Research grasps how the brain plans gripping motion

July 28, 2015

With the results of a new study, neuroscientists have a firmer grasp on the way the brain formulates commands for the hand to grip an object. The advance could lead to improvements in future brain-computer interfaces that ...

New research rethinks how we grab and hold onto objects

July 28, 2015

It's been a long day. You open your fridge and grab a nice, cold beer. A pretty simple task, right? Wrong. While you're debating between an IPA and a lager, your nervous system is calculating a complex problem: how hard to ...

It don't mean a thing if the brain ain't got that swing

July 27, 2015

Like Duke Ellington's 1931 jazz standard, the human brain improvises while its rhythm section keeps up a steady beat. But when it comes to taking on intellectually challenging tasks, groups of neurons tune in to one another ...

Static synapses on a moving structure: Mind the gap!

July 22, 2015

In biology, stability is important. From body temperature to blood pressure and sugar levels, our body ensures that these remain within reasonable limits and do not reach potentially damaging extremes. Neurons in the brain ...

Sleep makes our memories more accessible, study shows

July 27, 2015

Sleeping not only protects memories from being forgotten, it also makes them easier to access, according to new research from the University of Exeter and the Basque Centre for Cognition, Brain and Language. The findings ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.