The use of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) may decrease the levels of folic acid and vitamin B12 in the blood, according to a study published in the international scientific journal, Biomedical Reports.According to the authors this could be linked to a higher risk of stroke in people with different types of epilepsy. Therefore, giving these people regular folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements may be beneficial*.For the study, a team of scientists at The First People’s Hospital of Xuzhou, in China, analysed 68 people with epilepsy. Eight of them had autonomic seizures, 10 had absence seizures, 13 had complex partial seizures, 28 had generalized tonic-clonic seizures and nine had simple partial seizures. All participants received appropriate AED treatment for their type of epilepsy.After one year of treatment, the researchers analysed the differences in the level of folic acid and vitamin B12 in the blood of the participants, as well as any events of stroke.They found that there was no difference in the levels of folic acid and vitamin B12 in the blood of participants who had different types of epilepsy. This was the case both before and after the start of treatment with AEDs. However, when they looked at the levels of folic acid and vitamin B12 in the blood of the participants in each group before and after AED treatment, they saw that the levels had decreased following treatment.The researchers also found that there was no difference in the incidence of strokes between the groups, but that strokes were associated with the levels of folic acid and vitamin B12 in the blood. In-depth statistical analysis revealed that levels of folic acid and vitamin B12 may be independent risk factors for the development of stroke in epilepsy.The authors conclude that, although additional studies are required to confirm these results, folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements might decrease the risk of stroke in people who are taking AEDs.Author: Dr Özge Özkaya*Please note that taking supplements without medical advice may be harmful. Please consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.Click here for more articles about anti-epileptic drugs and pregnancy risks.