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Vol. 19, No. 2, 2000
Issue release date: March–April 2000
Neuroepidemiology 2000;19:87–99

Cost of Illness of Epilepsy in the US: Comparison of Patient-Based and Population-Based Estimates

Halpern M. · Rentz A. · Murray M.
MEDTAP International, Bethesda, Md., USA

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Purpose: To analyze the direct medical costs associated with epilepsy in the US using a cost-of-illness analysis that incorporates both a patient-based approach and a population-based approach. Methods: Patient-based or ‘bottom-up’ analysis relied on information provided by a panel of experienced epilepsy clinicians to determine the number and type of medical resources used by individuals with epilepsy. Population-based or ‘top-down’ analysis relied on cost estimates from a nationally representative sample in the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey. Results: The average annual cost per individual in the patient-based analysis was $1,490. The average annual cost per individual in the population-based analysis was $1,510 with average yearly costs per adult of $1,480 and $1,740 per child. New cases of epilepsy are associated with costs of $362 million for the first year of treatment; existing cases of epilepsy are estimated to cost the US nearly $2 billion. Conclusions: The results of this study indicate incident cases are more than twice as expensive as prevalent cases, and the need to properly care for epilepsy patients is increasingly important in today’s health care environment, where the emphasis is on providing effective treatments while simultaneously lowering the costs.

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