BP Meds & Osteoporosis
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Q:  BP Meds & Osteoporosis

Can bipolar drugs cause osteoporosis?  I had a test done for osteoporosis and my score was -2.4  I am on seroquel, topamax, synthroid and birth control.  I have been on depakote, lithium and every antidepresant ever invented.  I am only 25 so I shouldn't have this problem.  Thanks!

Dear Elizabeth -- 
There is
evidence from women who have been treated for epilepsy that, yes, long-term use of Depakote (Tegretol is worse though) is associated with decreased bone density in some folks.   If you've been on Depakote for a long time, that might be related in your case.  There is also some evidence that long-term mood disorder itself -- e.g multiple episodes of depression -- can be associated with decreased bone density (e.g. this study; and this review).  So it's not the medications for sure; they could be part of the problem but aren't necessarily the whole problem.  

Dr. Phelps

Published August, 2003


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