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J Korean Med Sci. 2012 Mar;27(3):285-90. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2012.27.3.285. Epub 2012 Feb 23.

Prevalence of treated epilepsy in Korea based on national health insurance data.

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Department of Neurology, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, Korea.


The Korean national health security system covers the entire population and all medical facilities. We aimed to estimate epilepsy prevalence, anticonvulsant utilization pattern and the cost. We identified prevalent epilepsy patients by the prescription of anticonvulsants under the diagnostic codes suggesting seizure or epilepsy from 2007 Korean National Health Insurance databases. The information of demography, residential area, the kind of medical security service reflecting economic status, anticonvulsants, and the costs was extracted. The overall prevalence of treated epilepsy patients was 2.41/1,000, and higher for men than women. The age-specific prevalence was the lowest in those in their thirties and forties. Epilepsy was more prevalent among lower-income individuals receiving medical aid. The regional prevalence was the highest in Jeju Island and lowest in Ulsan city. New anticonvulsants were more frequently used than old anticonvulsants in the younger age group. The total annual cost of epilepsy or seizure reached 0.46% of total medical expenditure and 0.27% of total expenditure on health. This is the first nationwide epidemiological report issued on epilepsy in Korea. Epilepsy prevalence in Korea is comparable to those in developed countries. Economic status and geography affect the prevalence of epilepsy.


Anticonvulsant; Cost; Epidemiology; Epilepsy; Insurance, Health; Prevalence

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