Vitamin D Improves Bone Loss Due to Epilepsy Drugs

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    It’s well known that, taken for long periods, anti-epilepsy drugs can lead to
    brittle bones. Now, researchers have shown that high-dose vitamin D therapy
    significantly improves bone mineral density in this
    situation.

    Dr. Ghada El-Hajj
    Fuleihan from American University of Beirut Medical Center, and colleagues
    compared the effects of low-dose and high-dose vitamin D on bone mineral density
    in 72 adults and 78 children and adolescents taking antiepilepsy medications.
    The low dose consisted of 400 IU (international units) per day, and the high
    dose was 2000 IU per day for children and 4000 IU daily for
    adults.

    At the start of the
    study, 34 percent of the adults were in the deficient range of vitamin D levels
    and 46 percent were in the insufficient range, the investigators report in the
    medical journal Neurology. Among children, the corresponding figures were 18
    percent and 44 percent.

    Bone mineral density
    was below normal in the adults, but in the children and adolescents it was still
    in the normal range.

    After treatment,
    none of the adults and only a few of the children in the high-dose group still
    had vitamin D deficiency, and relatively few had vitamin D insufficiency, the
    researchers report.

    Bone density in
    adults assigned to high-dose vitamin D increased significantly, but it didn’t
    change much in the low-dose vitamin D group, the report indicates.

    For children, bone
    density increased with both low and high doses of vitamin D, the researchers
    say, with no differences between the dose groups.

    Despite the improvements in adults, however, bone density remained below
    normal even after a year of vitamin D therapy.