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Epilepsia. 2001 May;42(5):641-6.

The costs of childhood epilepsy in Italy: comparative findings from three health care settings.

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  • 1DUNPI Universit√† di Pisa-IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris, Pisa, Italy.



To determine the direct costs of epilepsy in a child neurology referral population, stratified by disease, duration, and severity, comparing three different health care settings [i.e., teaching or clinical research (CR) hospitals, general hospitals, and outpatient services].


Patients were accepted if they had confirmed epilepsy and were resident in the center catchment area. Eligible subjects were grouped in the following categories: (a) newly diagnosed patients; (b) patients with epilepsy in remission; (c) patients with active non-drug-resistant epilepsy; and (d) those with drug-resistant epilepsy. Over a 12-month period, data regarding the consuming of all resources (i.e., consultations, tests, hospital admissions, drugs), were collected for each patient. Using the Italian National Health Service tariffs, the unit cost of each resource was calculated and indicated in Euros, the European currency.


A total of 189 patients was enrolled by two teaching-CR hospitals, two general hospitals, and two outpatient services. The patients were evenly distributed across the four categories of epilepsy. The mean annual cost per person with epilepsy was 1,767 Euros. Drug-resistant epilepsy was the most expensive category (3,268 Euros) followed by newly diagnosed epilepsy (1,907 Euros), active non-drug-resistant epilepsy (1,112 Euros), and epilepsy in remission (844 Euros). Costs were generally highest in teaching-CR hospitals and lowest in outpatient services. Hospital services were the major cost in all epilepsy groups, followed by drugs.


The cost of epilepsy in children and adolescents in Italy tends to vary significantly depending on the severity and duration of the disease Hospitals services and drugs are the major sources of costs. The setting of health care plays a significant role in the variation of the costs, even for patients in the same category of epilepsy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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