Purpose: Evidence suggests that enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) may decrease serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) levels and increase bone turnover. We sought to determine whether these are affected by treatment with carbamazepine (CBZ) or oxcarbazepine (OXC).
Methods: We measured serum levels of 25-OHD, parathyroid hormone (PTH), osteocalcin (OCLN), bone alkaline phosphatase (BAP), and urinary N-telopeptides of type I collagen cross-links (NTX) in normal controls (n=24) and in epilepsy patients taking CBZ (n=21) or OXC (n=24) in monotherapy. CBZ patients were subsequently switched overnight to OXC monotherapy, and after 6 weeks, the tests were repeated.
Results: 25-OHD levels were lower in each drug-treated group (OXC, 19.4+/-2.3 pg/ml; CBZ, 20.4+/-2.4) than in the controls (27.5+/-2.8) (ANOVA, p=0.052). This difference was significant for the OXC group (p<0.05). PTH, BAP, and NTX did not differ significantly among groups. OCLN levels were somewhat elevated in the OXC group (2.79+/-0.47 ng/ml) and more clearly and significantly elevated in the CBZ group (3.63+/-0.36) compared with controls (2.38+/- 0.41) (p=0.053). Because the data were very similar between OXC and CBZ groups, they were combined to increase statistical power. The combined drug-treatment group had significantly higher BAP (p=0.02) and lower 25-OHD (p=0.015) than did controls. The latter remained significant even after accounting for the confounding effects of age on 25-OHD levels (p<0.05). No significant differences were found after CBZ patients were switched to OXC.
Conclusions: Epilepsy patients taking OXC or CBZ have significantly lower 25-OHD than do normal controls, with a pattern of changes in other bone biomarkers suggestive of secondary hyperparathyroidism. It may be prudent for patients taking CBZ or OXC to be prescribed 25-OHD replacement.