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The Physician and Sportsmedicine

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The Physician and Sportsmedicine Online is your source for primary care sports medicine clinical and personal health articles—and for helpful resources like our Sports Medicine Clinics and Fellowships lists. But we're also your link to the rest of the sports medicine community. (Please note: Members of our editorial staff are not physicians and cannot give medical advice or provide referrals for treatment. If you have a medical question, please contact a physician in your area.)

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PEARLS

A Calcium Caveat for Epilepsy Patients

I recently saw a patient who had epilepsy and who sought care for unusual back pain. A magnetic resonance image showed anterior wedging of his thoracic vertebrae. He had been taking phenytoin for approximately 30 years and was unaware that phenytoin usage interferes with calcium absorption. I can't recall any patients with epilepsy that I've treated who were taking supplemental calcium.

In my opinion, patients who have epilepsy and are prescribed phenytoin should take supplemental calcium and should be monitored closely for osteoporosis. It's important to note that calcium supplements may decrease the effects of both medicines, so calcium supplements should not be taken within 1 to 3 hours of phenytoin.

IVAN ALTMAN, MD
METAIRIE, LOUISIANA


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This site was updated December 6, 2021.