Bone Loss from Valproate

The drug valproate is commonly used to treat epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and other conditions. However, valproate appears to reduce the formation of two key proteins important for bone strength.

This comes a recent news as before the reason for bone less in patients taking valproate was a mystery.
Glenn Morris and his fellow researchers have demonstrated that the use of valproate has grown over the years to include other diseases/disorders.  Valproate now is prescribed for mood disorders, migraine headache, and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
Many SMA patients will develop weak bones as a result SMA which of course makes additional bone loss not welcome.
Now the molecular explanation for the bone loss side effect of valproate is known. Valproate reduces production of collagen, the key protein that gives bone its strength, and does so by around 60%. The drug also reduced levels of osteonectin, which binds calcium and helps maintain bone mass, and does so by around 28%.
Any patient taking valproate should be aware of these recent findings and consider the side effects in their treatment options.

Reference: Fuller et al. Valproate and Bone Loss: iTRAQ Proteomics Show that Valproate Reduces Collagens and Osteonectin in SMA Cells. Journal of Proteome Research, 2010; 100722144125012.

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