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This article was published in September 2012. The information may be out of date. Please check our epilepsy information or our site A-Z.

AEDs, fractures and falls

24 Sep 2012

New research highlights the increased risk of bone fractures, falls and osteoporosis in people taking anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). According to the study at the University of Melbourne, most patients are unaware of these risks.

bone fractureThe study compared 150 AED users with 506 non-users. All AED users were epilepsy outpatients at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Researchers found that people taking AEDs are up to four times more likely to have spine, collarbone or ankle fractures. They are also four times as likely as to be diagnosed with osteoporosis.

The study highlighted that AEDs can affect balance, too – with the number of falls in female patients taking AEDs being almost double that of non–users. More than 70 per cent of patients with epilepsy who took part in the research were unaware of the increased risks of taking AEDs and the impact they can have on bone health.

Prof Jon Wark from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Medicine led the study. He said: “We believe patients need to be offered better information to help them avoid these risks and prevent injury. 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.”

The full study findings were published in the medical journal Neurology. For more information, visit newsroom.melbourne.edu

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