(HealthDay News) – For male veterans with epilepsy taking antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), calcium and vitamin D supplementation improve bone mineral density (BMD), with added benefits seen with addition of risedronate, according to a study published in the November issue of Epilepsia.

Antonio A. Lazzari, MD, from the Boston VA Healthcare System, and colleagues examined whether use of a bisphosphonate in addition to calcium and vitamin D can prevent the loss of bone mass associated with AED use among 53 male veterans with epilepsy taking AEDs for a minimum of two years. Participants were randomized to receive risedronate or matching placebo, in addition to calcium and vitamin D.

The researchers found that in both groups there was significant improvement in BMD at any of the evaluated sites at the end of the study compared with baseline (69% in the placebo group; 70% in the risedronate group). The increase of BMD at the lumbar spine L1–L4 was significantly larger in the risedronate group vs. the placebo group (P=0.0066). Changes in total BMD or at the proximal bilateral femora were not significantly different between the groups. Fractures were only seen in the placebo group (five new vertebral fractures and one nonvertebral fracture).

“Future studies of long-term use of bisphosphonates in the epileptic patient population should be encouraged,” the authors conclude.

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