To assess the effect of anticonvulsant treatment on plasma homocysteine level and lipoprotein (a) in epileptic children.
Plasma total homocysteine, folate, vitamin B12 and lipoprotein (a) concentrations were measured in 111 epilectic children taking anticonvulsant drugs for longer than 12 mo. Forty-six healthy, sex- and age-matched children served as controls.
Patients and controls differed significantly in concentrations of homocysteine (p < 0.05) and lipoprotein (a) (p < 0.001). The number of patients with homocysteine concentrations of >9 microM was significantly higher in the patient group than in the control group. A significant inverse relationship was found between vitamin B12 folate levels and plasma homocysteine levels in the patient group; 28.8% of the patient group had lipoprotein (a) concentrations above the cut-off value (30 mg/dl) for increased risk of early atherosclerosis, whereas none of the control patients had concentrations above this value.
These data indicate that prolonged anticonvulsant treatment could increase plasma homocysteine and lipoprotein (a) concentrations and that it may be useful to measure the levels routinely in order to prevent atherosclerosis in epileptic children taking anticonvulsant drugs.