Children with epilepsy may benefit from vitamin D supplementation

Posted Jun 19 2013 in Epilepsy in children

Medics from Leicester Royal Infirmary’s Department of Paediatric Neurology have published a review article that highlights the known problems with bone metabolism and bone mineral density loss among children and adolescents who take drugs to treat epilepsy.

As a result, these children are two to three times more likely to sustain fractures than their healthy peers.

The researchers reviewed available literature on the subject, as well as on the role of vitamin D supplementation in children using antiepileptic medications.

They found that while studies have generally found little difference in bone mineral density markers between children with epilepsy and healthy youngsters, most had small sample sizes.

Furthermore, many failed to take into account other factors that may have influenced children’s bone mineral density, including co-morbidities, mobility, nutrition and obesity.

The researchers also observed that studies assessing the role of vitamin D supplementation in children with epilepsy have shown little evidence of benefits. But these again failed to take confounding factors into consideration.

In light of the lack of reliable evidence, the Leicester-based experts say larger studies are needed to look at outcomes such as fractures.

Writing in the Journal of Paediatric Neurosciences, they argue that in the absence of good evidence to the contrary, concerns remain that children with epilepsy are at risk of poor bone health “and that vitamin D therapy may be beneficial”.

“As low-dose vitamin D supplementation (400 IU per day) is now recommended for healthy children and it is biologically feasible that children with epilepsy may be at higher risk of clinically significant deficiency, it is important that neurologists ensure that low-dose vitamin D supplementation should be prescribed and compliance followed up in children with epilepsy,” they conclude.

Published by Steve Long

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