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
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
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.
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
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.