Epilepsy Talk

Anti-Epilepsy Drugs and Osteoporosis – It’s Not Just a Women’s Disease | February 24, 2021

A research team consisting of epilepsy specialists and epidemiologists (persons who study the causes and control of diseases) reports on a study that answered an important but simple question:

Do anti-seizure drugs cause reductions in bone density?

Why ask this question?

Most doctors and patients agree that controlling seizures is very important — possibly the most important consideration — but other issues, such as long term side-effects of a medication, may affect quality of life.

If a drug reduces bone density, bones will become more fragile, and eventually this could result in fractures that may have a major effect on health and quality of life.

The main result of the study was whether men and women taking AEDs were more likely to have reduced bone density than those who were not taking this group of medications.

(Bone density is determined by a balance of bone reabsorption  and bone formation.)

In particular, Dilantin, was associated with significant bone loss.

And interestingly, Dilantin is the most prescribed AED by general physicians in the U.S. but less so among epilepsy doctors, because of its side-effects.

But Dilantin isn’t the only culprit.  Men and women who took other anti-seizure drugs regularly — mostly Phenobarbital, Mysoline, Tegretol, or Carbatrol are at risk.

However, the rate of bone loss was almost two times greater per year for those who took Dilantin.

This severe bone density loss can lead to Osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) and Osteomalacia (softening of the bones) Importantly, regular users of anti-seizure drugs have an estimated 29% increase in hip fractures over 5 years.

One of the reasons for the lower bone density is that these drugs interfere with the absorption or metabolism of Calcium and Vitamin D, both considered natural bone strengtheners.

So any person taking anti-seizure drugs  —  whether male or female — should get at least 1,200 MG of Calcium per day and at least 1,200 IU of Vitamin D a day.

This includes young children who are also highly vulnerable.

Also to be considered is 500 MG of Magnesium to help absorb the Calcium and Vitamin D.  Plus, Vitamin K plays a role by helping calcium bind to bone tissue and reduce incidence of fractures.

However, it’s best to get your Vitamin K from leafy, green vegetables. If your diet is deficient, 2 MG is recommended as a starting dose.

( If you want to increase the amount, see your doctor first, because Vitamin K is not recommended for those on blood thinners or by pregnant or nursing mothers.)

Obviously, doctors should inform patients that Osteoporosis and Osteomalacia are possible side-effects of taking some AEDs. They should also consider what preventative measures can be taken. 

But whether your doctor tells you or not, at age 50, everyone should get a baseline bone density (DEXA) scan.  If the results are normal, then follow-ups are recommended every three to five years.

At this point, the safety of prescription drug therapy for bone loss is in limbo. 

The Food and Drug Administration is conducting a safety review of the following bone-building drugs: Fosamax, Boniva and Actonel (also known as known as bisphosphonates) to see if they increase the risk of fractures in the bone — just below the hip-joint — in patients who’ve been on these drugs for several years.

(Fosamax has also been associated with a rare but severe bone disease called Osteonecrosis of the jaw. Some dentists won’t even treat patients on Fosamax!)

But you can play it safe and get all the benefits without the risks.

Because there are healthy supplements available out there to provide the right combination of nutrients you need to promote healthy bones.  (One-stop shopping?)

The easiest one to find is “Bone Up” by Jarrow. 

And personally, I’d rather go the vitamin route than play with the fire of prescription drugs.  After all, we take enough meds as it is!

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  1. Reblogged this on Disablities & Mental Health Issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kenneth — February 24, 2021 @ 9:58 AM

  2. I was informed the same by my Neurologist – related to bone density. I take Calcium as well as workout regularly to compensate for that. I believe working out helps as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by prasadmok — February 24, 2021 @ 10:42 AM

  3. You’re very right. Exercise helps build bone density. You might enjoy this article:

    Epilepsy and Exercise https://epilepsytalk.com/2020/09/24/epilepsy-and-exercise/


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 24, 2021 @ 10:46 AM

  4. When i was young i told myself i’ll never take medicine for the rest of my life. Then came along seizures and look at me now, on meds for the rest of my life. UGH!@#$

    My take, if something don’t kill u, something else will. Ever since i’ve been on AEDs i’ve notice the want/need to suntan. I always thought it was for the warmth, maybe there is more to it than that.

    Lot of sailors back in the day died from scurvy, which is a lack of vitamin c.

    I normally take the multi-vitamin type pills, hopefully that covers all bases.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Zolt — February 24, 2021 @ 11:16 AM

    • Hi Zolt! Good to hear from you.

      This article may be of interest to you:

      Epilepsy Fighting Foods


      Also, your craving for the sun, may be because of a shortage of Vitamin D.

      Vitamin D — Low vitamin D levels are associated with depression as well as epilepsy. However many doctors aren’t aware of this and don’t include it in blood tests.

      It’s called the “sun vitamin” since the most effective way (other than supplements) to get vitamin D is from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

      Foods: Sources of vitamin D unfortunately rely upon fortified foods like milk. However, even though milk is fortified with vitamin D, dairy products made from milk such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream are generally not.

      Only a few foods naturally contain significant amounts of vitamin D, including fatty fish and fish oils.

      Hope this helps…

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 24, 2021 @ 11:25 AM

  5. The other thing we can’t forget about bones is that, all of the great minerals we eat or take in supplements will do no good if there is not a healthy bone matrix for them to settle in. It is sort of like scaffolding. This bone scaffolding is made out of protein. As we age, we get less efficient at absorbing protein even before we dump AEDs into the mix. Bottom line, eat up on the protein.

    Liked by 3 people

    Comment by paleobird — February 24, 2021 @ 2:48 PM

  6. Super explanation!!!


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — February 24, 2021 @ 2:50 PM

  7. I know you want to help everyone the best you can. I have fact checked this and its spot on. I know you read all this before you allow it and I do not expect you go post it. But because you I will share . These ingredients Mutated the gaba receptors in my son. And caused his epilepsy. There may have been a secondary gene that was brought out because of these Ingredients.

    Copied from a friend…you still want to get the “vaccine”??? 🤔😤

    “I gathered all vaccine ingredients into a list and contacted Poison Control. After intros and such, and asking to speak with someone tenured and knowledgeable, this is the gist of that conversation.

    Me: My question to you is how are these ingredients categorized? As benign or poison? (I ran a few ingredients, formaldehyde, Tween 80, mercury, aluminum, phenoxyethanol, potassium phosphate, sodium phosphate, sorbitol, etc.)

    He: Well, that’s quite a list… But I’d have to easily say that they’re all toxic to humans… Used in fertilizers… Pesticides… To stop the heart… To preserve a dead body… They’re registered with us in different categories, but pretty much poisons. Why?

    Me: If I were deliberately to feed or inject my child with these ingredients often, as a schedule, obviously I’d put my daughter in harm’s way… But what would legally happen to me?

    He: Odd question… But you’d likely be charged with criminal negligence… perhaps with intent to kill… and of course child abuse… Your child would be taken away from you… Do you know of someone’s who’s doing this to their child? This is criminal…

    Me: An industry… These are the ingredients used in vaccines… With binding agents to make sure the body won’t flush these out… To keep the antibody levels up indefinitely…

    He: WHAT?!

    Your conclusion?

    The man was beside himself. He asked if I would email him all this information. He wanted to share it with his adult kids who are parents. He was horrified and felt awful he didn’t know… his kids are vaccinated and they have health issues…”

    ~ By Iris Figueroa 🍃♥️🍃

    ✅INGREDIENTS TO VACCINES – You CANNOT make an educated decision without being educated.

    Here are just SOME vaccine ingredients. These are being INJECTED into your kids;

    ◾️Formaldehyde/Formalin – Highly toxic systematic poison and carcinogen.

    ◾️Betapropiolactone – Toxic chemical and carcinogen. May cause death/permanant injury after very short exposure to small quantities. Corrosive chemical.

    ◾️Hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide – May cause damage to the liver, cardiovascular system, and central nervous system. May cause reproductive effects and birth defects.

    ◾️Aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, and aluminum salts – Neurotoxin. Carries risk for long term brain inflammation/swelling, neurological disorders, autoimmune disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and autism. It penetrates the brain where it persists indefinitely.

    ◾️Thimerosal (mercury) – Neurotoxin. Induces cellular damage, reduces oxidation-reduction activity, cellular degeneration, and cell death. Linked to neurological disorders, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and autism.

    ◾️Polysorbate 80 & 20 – Trespasses the Blood-Brain Barrier and carries with it aluminum, thimerosal, and viruses; allowing it to enter the brain.

    ◾️Glutaraldehyde – Toxic chemical used as a disinfectant for heat sensitive medical equipment.

    ◾️Fetal Bovine Serum – Harvested from bovine (cow) fetuses taken from pregnant cows before slaughter.

    ◾️Human Diploid Fibroblast Cells – aborted fetal cells. Foreign DNA has the ability to interact with our own.

    ◾️African Green Monkey Kidney Cells – Can carry the SV-40 cancer-causing virus that has already tainted about 30 million Americans.

    ◾️Acetone – Can cause kidney, liver, and nerve damage.

    ◾️E.Coli – Yes, you read that right.

    ◾️DNA from porcine (pig) Circovirus type-1

    ◾️Human embryonic lung cell cultures (from aborted fetuses)

    ✳️You can view all of these ingredients on the CDCs website. I encourage everyone to do their own research. Look up the MSDS on these chemicals. Read the thousands of peer reviewed studies that have evaluated the biological consequences these chemicals can have on the body, especially when being injected.

    ✳️Fact check vaccine ingredients here: cdc.gov

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tom — February 26, 2021 @ 9:23 PM

  8. Just what I needed to see before I go back to my family doctor today!! THANK YOU SO MUCH PHYLIS I GREATLY APPRECIATE YOU AND ALL THAT YOU DO FOR US!!!!! Please be well and take care of yourself and stay safe 😊🙏🏼🦬🦅❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — March 2, 2021 @ 9:59 AM

  9. Well, as you know. Information is knowledge!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 2, 2021 @ 10:10 AM

  10. YES!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — March 2, 2021 @ 10:14 AM

  11. Anti-osteoporosis drugs and seizures is a topic I will have to address tomorrow with an endocrinologist. My run-in with Fosamax produced hallucinations, which are the kind of seizures I experience most. (My internist refers to these as “discomfort”.)

    In doing a bit of research on alternatives to Fosamax, I see that unwanted effects can include seizures and convulsions. Chances are also that interactions between osteoporosis meds and AEDs have not been studied.

    Jarrow’s Bone Up has some serious competitors.

    If anyone has recent information on supplements or any of these meds or interactions, please yell. If any real information comes out of tomorrow’s appointment, I’ll report back. Meanwhile, continuing thanks for this site.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by HoDo — August 30, 2021 @ 11:51 AM

  12. I love the idea of algae supplements. That brand contains lead, though – very low levels, but still. The Smarter Reviews in a great article. Thx.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by HoDo — August 30, 2021 @ 1:54 PM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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