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Long-term anti-epileptics raise the risk of fractures

Patients taking anti-epileptic drugs long-term are at a substantially increased risk of suffering fractures, a study of UK general practice reveals.

The risk of fractures grows with length of exposure to the drugs and is greater in women than in men, the researchers found.

Their study of 2,860 patients with epilepsy, identified through the UK general practice research database, found 12-year exposure to anti-epileptic drugs increased the risk of fractures 4.2-fold.

Study leader Dr Patrick Souverein, a researcher at the Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences in the Netherlands, said: 'Long-term use of anti-epileptic drugs was associated with an increased risk of fractures, especially in women.

'More research on mechanisms of anti-epileptic drug-

induced bone breakdown and female vulnerability to their

effects on bone health is

warranted.'

But the researchers, whose study was published in Neurology last month, found there was no difference in risk between users of drugs that induce, and do not induce, the hepatic cytochrome P-450 system.

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