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Epilepsia. 2015 Sep;56(9):1376-87. doi: 10.1111/epi.13084. Epub 2015 Jul 27.

The direct cost of epilepsy in the United States: A systematic review of estimates.

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Center for Health Services Research, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
U.S. Health Economics and Outcomes Research, UCB, Inc., Smyrna, Georgia, U.S.A.



To develop estimates of the direct cost of epilepsy in the United States for the general epilepsy population and sub-populations by systematically comparing similarities and differences in types of estimates and estimation methods from recently published studies.


Papers published since 1995 were identified by systematic literature search. Information on types of estimates, study designs, data sources, types of epilepsy, and estimation methods was extracted from each study. Annual per person cost estimates from methodologically similar studies were identified, converted to 2013 U.S. dollars, and compared.


From 4,104 publications discovered in the literature search, 21 were selected for review. Three were added that were published after the search. Eighteen were identified that reported estimates of average annual direct costs for the general epilepsy population in the United States. For general epilepsy populations (comprising all clinically defined subgroups), total direct healthcare costs per person ranged from $10,192 to $47,862 and epilepsy-specific costs ranged from $1,022 to $19,749. Four recent studies using claims data from large general populations yielded relatively similar epilepsy-specific annual cost estimates ranging from $8,412 to $11,354. Although more difficult to compare, studies examining direct cost differences for epilepsy sub-populations indicated a consistent pattern of markedly higher costs for those with uncontrolled or refractory epilepsy, and for those with comorbidities.


This systematic review found that various approaches have been used to estimate the direct costs of epilepsy in the United States. However, recent studies using large claims databases and similar methods allow estimation of the direct cost burden of epilepsy for the general disease population, and show that it is greater for some patient subgroups. Additional research is needed to further understand the broader economic burden of epilepsy and how it varies across subpopulations.


Burden of illness; Cost; Cost of illness; Costs and cost analysis; Economic burden; Economics; Epilepsy; Seizures

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