Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are known to cause bone loss. People with epilepsy have twice the fracture rate of nonepilepsy populations. Osteoprotective knowledge related to calcium and exercise has not been assessed in people with epilepsy. The Osteoporosis Knowledge Test (OKT), a validated, 24-item test, was administered to 94 epilepsy patients (28 males and 66 females) to measure knowledge of risk factors for osteoporosis and strategies for prevention related to calcium and exercise. The mean age of participants was 45 years with an average AED exposure of 20 years. Fifty participants were Caucasian and 44 were non-Caucasian. No significant differences related to age or gender for the OKT were found. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) of ethnicity showed that non-Caucasians had much lower calcium (F = 8.15, p = .005) and exercise (F = 7.71, p = .007) knowledge. The total mean OKT score was 11.71 (4.92), reflecting a correct response rate of 49%. In previous studies of nonepilepsy populations, the mean OKT score ranged from 7.83 to 21.8, with a correct response ranging from 32.9% to 90.8%. Independent t tests of the individual OKT questions revealed specific knowledge deficiencies in the areas of risk factors, exercise, and reasons for calcium supplementation for non-Caucasians. Results of this study reveal that people with epilepsy, who are at greater risk for metabolic bone loss, have lower knowledge scores for calcium and exercise than nonepilepsy populations of various ages and genders. Culturally relevant epilepsy materials and programs may improve knowledge and adoption of preventative behavior.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to John O. Elliott, MPH, atJohn.Elliott@osumc.edu. He is a clinical research data manager in the Department of Neurology at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.
Brenda F. Seals, PhD MPH, is an executive director and research associate at the Native American Cancer Initiative, Inc., Pine, CO.
Mercedes P. Jacobson, MD, is the director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center in the Department of Neurology at the Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.