Chapter 18 Bone Health in Women with Epilepsy. Clinical Features and Potential Mechanisms

Alison M. Pack, Thaddeus S. Walczak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

37 Scopus citations


Bone disease is recognized as an important pathologic process to identify and treat in women. Women are at greater risk than men secondary to multiple factors including estrogen loss in menopause. The most important consequence of bone disease is fracture. Fracture rates are higher in persons with epilepsy treated with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Increased bone turnover secondary to AED exposure, higher rates of osteoporosis, adverse effects on bone quality, seizures, and impaired coordination may all contribute. There is a differential effect of AEDs on bone. Although results are mixed for some AEDs, phenytoin use is consistently associated with lower bone mineral density (BMD). As most evidence associates cytochrome P450 enzyme-inducing AEDs with abnormalities in bone, the induction of these enzymes has been proposed as the main mechanism to describe this effect. However, data suggest that this theory does not explain all findings. Many therapies are available for the treatment of bone disease, but there is limited study in persons with epilepsy. All patients should receive at least the recommended daily allowance of calcium and vitamin D and obtain vitamin D status screening. For prolonged AED exposure, BMD screening is available, particularly if the patient has other risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEpilepsy in Women The Scientific Basis for Clinical Management
EditorsBarry Gidal, Cynthia Harden
Number of pages24
StatePublished - Oct 7 2008

Publication series

NameInternational Review of Neurobiology
ISSN (Print)0074-7742


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