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26 Apr

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Bone Density and Epilepsy

April 26, 2014 | By |

For both men and women who have epilepsy, there is an increased risk of bone disease due to certain medications that have been linked to reduced bone health. These include Dilantin, Tegretol, Phenobarbital and Depakote. The newer drugs are expected to be better but there is not enough clinical data yet to completely understand their effects on bone health. Some epilepsy medications also reduce calcium absorption as well as active levels of Vitamin D which is important for overall bone health.

It is recommended that anyone who has been taking epilepsy medications for five years or more should have a DEXA scan. About 35 percent of patients under the age of 40 were found that have osteopenia or osteoporosis. This is a new recommendation and most physicians are unaware of it; therefore you may need to educate your physician on why DEXA scans are an important part of maintaining your health.

 

Bone Density Tests

The thickness of your bones, or bone density, can be measured in a few ways. A heel scan is a screening test. The best test is a DEXA scan (no needles and it only takes 10 minutes). The DEXA scan looks at your bone density at the lower back (lumbar spine) and hip. It will give you some bone scores. The most important is the T score. The T score compares your bones to other women at their peak bone mass.