Anti-Epileptic Drugs Increase Risk of Fractures

Hypertension medications may provide potential osteoprotective benefits

THURSDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) may increase the risk of nontraumatic fractures in patients aged 50 and older, according to a study published in the January issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Nathalie Jette, M.D., from the University of Calgary in Canada, and colleagues studied 15,792 patients who suffered nontraumatic wrist, hip and vertebra fractures between 1996 and 2004, and compared them according to age, sex, ethnicity, and comorbidities to 47,289 control subjects. AED use was determined using pharmacy data.

The researchers found that, with the exception of valproic acid, AED use significantly increased the risk of fractures. The increased risk was still present after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, comorbidities, and the use of home care services. They also found that patients with fractures were less likely to also have hypertension as compared to those without fractures, indicating a potential osteoprotective benefit from hypertension or hypertension medications.

"In conclusion, our study showed that most AEDs except for valproic acid are associated with an increased likelihood of nontraumatic fracture in individuals aged 50 years or older. Further studies are warranted to assess the risk of nontraumatic fractures with the newer AEDs and to determine the efficacy of osteoprotective medications in this population," the authors write.

Several of the study authors disclosed financial ties with various pharmaceutical companies, including Amgen Pharmaceuticals Canada and Proctor & Gamble.

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