Epilepsy drug causes bone loss in young women

April 28, 2008

Young women who took the commonly used epilepsy drug phenytoin for one year showed significant bone loss compared to women taking other epilepsy drugs, according to a study published in the April 29, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Researchers tested the bone health of 93 women with epilepsy who were between the ages of 18 and 40 and were taking the epilepsy drugs phenytoin, carbamazepine, lamotrigine or valproate. Bone mineral density was measured at the spine and two areas of the hip, (the femoral neck and total hip) at the beginning of the study and one year later. Researchers also evaluated each woman’s nutrition and physical activity, along with other factors that affect bone health.

The study found women taking phenytoin for one year lost 2.6 percent of the bone density in the femoral neck of the hip. Women taking the other epilepsy drugs did not lose any bone density in the femoral neck. There was no bone loss at the spine or the total hip in any group.

“This is a significant amount of bone loss and raises serious concerns about the long-term effects of taking phenytoin in young women with epilepsy,” said study author Alison M. Pack, MD, with Columbia University in New York, NY, and member of the American Academy of Neurology. “This is one of the first prospective studies to examine the long-term effects of common epilepsy drugs on rates of bone loss in young women.”

“This amount of bone loss, especially it if continues over the long term, could put these women at increased risk of fractures after menopause,” Pack said. Femoral neck fractures are tied to a higher risk of death in elderly people.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Explore further: The case for testing drugs on pregnant women

Related Stories

The case for testing drugs on pregnant women

November 24, 2015
When the heart stops beating, minutes matter. With every minute that passes before a rhythm is restored, a patient's odds of survival plummet. Which is why Anne Lyerly was surprised when, one night 20 years ago, she got a ...

Consider bone test for many conditions, medications

April 15, 2011
When it comes to bone health, age and family history of osteoporosis aren’t the only reasons to consider testing for fracture risk.

Regular jogging shows dramatic increase in life expectancy

May 3, 2012
Undertaking regular jogging increases the life expectancy of men by 6.2 years and women by 5.6 years, reveals the latest data from the Copenhagen City Heart study presented at the EuroPRevent2012 meeting. Reviewing the evidence ...

Recommended for you

Drug found that induces apoptosis in myofibroblasts reducing fibrosis in scleroderma

December 15, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—An international team of researchers has found that the drug navitoclax can induce apoptosis (self-destruction) in myofibroblasts in mice, reducing the spread of fibrosis in scleroderma. In their paper ...

How defeating THOR could bring a hammer down on cancer

December 14, 2017
It turns out Thor, the Norse god of thunder and the Marvel superhero, has special powers when it comes to cancer too.

Researchers track muscle stem cell dynamics in response to injury and aging

December 14, 2017
A new study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) describes the biology behind why muscle stem cells respond differently to aging or injury. The findings, published in Cell Stem Cell, ...

'Human chronobiome' study informs timing of drug delivery, precision medicine approaches

December 13, 2017
Symptoms and efficacy of medications—and indeed, many aspects of the human body itself—vary by time of day. Physicians tell patients to take their statins at bedtime because the related liver enzymes are more active during ...

Time of day affects severity of autoimmune disease

December 12, 2017
Insights into how the body clock and time of day influence immune responses are revealed today in a study published in leading international journal Nature Communications. Understanding the effect of the interplay between ...

Estrogen discovery could shed new light on fertility problems

December 12, 2017
Estrogen produced in the brain is necessary for ovulation in monkeys, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who have upended the traditional understanding of the hormonal cascade that leads to release ...

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.