Falls and fractures in patients chronically treated with antiepileptic drugs

Baemisla Shiek Ahmad, Keith David Hill, Terence John O'Brien, Alexandra Gorelik, Natalie Habib, John Dennis Wark

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72 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To evaluate fractures and falls in epilepsy patients taking antiepileptic drugs (AED) and to assess their awareness of AED-related bone health, falls, and fracture risk. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in epilepsy patients taking AEDs and in nonepileptic non-AED users. Information on falls and fracture history was collected. Results: A total of 150 AED users were compared with 506 non-AED users. Users had greater odds of fracture at spine (odds ratio [OR] 3.92; confidence interval [CI] 1.08-14.16; p = 0.037), clavicle (OR 3.75; CI 1.24-11.34; p=0.019), and ankle sites (OR 2.34; CI 1.01-5.42; p=0.048), increased odds for osteoporosis (OR 4.62; CI 1.40-15.30; p = 0.012), and fracture occasions (OR 2.64; CI 1.29-5.43; p = 0.008). We estimate that with every year of AED use the odds of fractures increase by 4%-6%, or 40% per decade for any fracture (OR 1.40; CI 1.02-1.91) and 60% for seizurerelated fractures (OR 1.63; CI 1.10-2.37). Non-seizure-related fractures (69% of cumulative fractures) occurred more than seizure-related fractures during therapy. Female users, compared to female nonusers, had more non-seizure falls (31% vs 17%, p = 0.027) and multiple falls (18% vs 5%, p = 0.028) in the preceding year. Fewer than 30% of epilepsy patients knew of the association of AED use with increased risk for fractures, decreased bone mineral densita, or falls. Conclusions: Epilepsy patients taking AEDs had a higher risk of fractures, which was highest in those with longer-term AED exposure. Female AED users had a higher prevalence of falls than matched nonusers. Awareness among epilepsy patients regarding risks of falling and fractures was low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-151
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

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