Anti Epileptic Drugs Linked to Bone Fractures

10/08/2018 Posted by admin

Anti-epileptic drugs associated with increased risk of fracture in older adults

Posted January 11, 2011

Most anti-epileptic drugs are associated with an increased risk of non-traumatic fracture in individuals 50 years of age and older, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Anti-epileptic drugs are considered a secondary risk factor for osteoporosis, according to background information in the article, because epilepsy is highly prevalent in older adults, a population already at risk for osteoporosis. Additionally, anti-epileptic drugs are associated with greater bone density reduction in post-menopausal women with epilepsy.

While there have been studies that examined the link between anti-epileptic drugs and bone density loss in adults older than 65, little evidence exists for the association of individual anti-epileptic drugs with bone loss. Dr. Nathalie Jetté from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine and colleagues studied administrative healthcare data of 15,792 individuals who experienced non-traumatic fractures between April 1996 and March 2004. Each person was matched with up to three controls, persons without a history of fracture, for a total of 47,289 controls.

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The individual anti-epileptic drugs studied included carbamazepine, clonazepam, ethosuximide, gabapentin, phenobarbital, phenytoin and valproic acid. Additional anti-epileptic drugs (felbamate, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine, pregabalin, primidone, topiramate and vigabatrin) with fewer numbers of users were included together under “other anti-epileptic drugs.”

The likelihood of fractures was highest for persons taking phenytoin followed by carbamazepine, other, phenobarbital, gabapentin and clonazepam. The only anti-epileptic drug not associated with an increased likelihood of fracture after adjusting for sociodemographic variables, homecare use and comorbidities was valproic acid.

Similar results were found when testing for the use of anti-epileptic drugs in monotherapy (individuals taking only one anti-epileptic drug) and in polytherapy (individuals taking more than one anti-epileptic drug). All anti-epileptic drugs used in monotherapy were associated with a significantly increased risk of fracture except for valproic acid, phenobarbital and “other anti-epileptic drugs.” The greatest risk of fracture was found in individuals in the polytherapy subgroups.

“In conclusion, our study showed that most anti-epileptic drugs except for valproic acid are associated with an increased likelihood of non-traumatic fracture in individuals aged 50 years or older,” the authors write. “Future prospective studies of anti-epileptic drugs in newly treated drug-naïve patients are needed to better examine the individual effects of anti-epileptic drugs on bone health.”

This study was supported in part by an operating grant and New Investigator Awards from the Canadian Institutes of Health research and a research salary award from the Alberta Innovates Health Solutions.

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