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People with epilepsy are at twice the risk of fractures of the population as a whole,

according to a large-scale study of UK patients.

Hip and femur fractures were almost three times as likely among patients with epilepsy, the conference heard. The researchers said it was still unclear whether the increased risk was due to the condition itself or to anti-epileptic drugs.

Dr Greg Rogers, a GP in Margate, Kent, with a special interest in epilepsy, said: 'It has been known for a while that there is an increased risk of fractures in epilepsy, but that figure is incredible.'

He said it was also known some anticonvulsants used to treat epilepsy had a calcium leaching effect.

Dutch researchers analysing the UK general practice research database identified a total of 3,489 fractures among 40,485 epileptic patients after 3.5 years' follow-up.

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