Purpose: To investigate the influence of vitamin B supplementation on the plasma total homocysteine (p-tHcy), serum folate (s-FA), serum B12 (s-B12), and clinical state of patients with chronic epilepsy.
Methods: Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores and p-tHcy, s-B12, and s-FA levels were assessed at baseline, after 1 year of supplementation (G1), and before and after 1 year of VPA or CBZ therapy (G2).
Results: Eighty-one patients participated in the study: 51 patients with chronic epilepsy (G1) treated with carbamazepine (CBZ) or valproic acid (VPA), and 30 patients with newly diagnosed epilepsy (G2). At baseline, mean p-tHcy level was significantly higher in G1 than G2 (p=0.0001) with no significant differences in s-FA or s-B12 levels. p-tHcy level significantly decreased in CBZ-treated G1 patients (p=0.00002) after 1 year of supplementation and increased in G2 after 1 year of anti-epileptic drug (AED) therapy without supplementation. BDI scores in G1 decreased significantly after 1 year of supplementation (p=0.0001) and increased significantly in VPA-treated G2 patients after 1 year of AED therapy (p=0.02). The number of hyperhomocysteinemic patients significantly decreased in G1 after vitamin B supplementation (p=0.01) and increased in G2 (p=0.002). We also observed improved BDI scores and reduced seizure frequency in patients with chronic epilepsy.
Conclusions: These data support the hypothesis that AEDs play a major role in hyperhomocysteinemia development in patients with epilepsy. Adding folate and vitamin B12 to AED therapy is a safe and inexpensive way to reduce the risk of hyperhomocysteinemia.
Copyright © 2012 British Epilepsy Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.