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Care Costs Among Older Adults With Epilepsy

July 05, 2018

The prevalence of epilepsy is high in the older adult population and will continue to grow as the population ages. Authors of a recent study sought to assess the health care expenditures in this population in the United States.

Alain Lekoubou, MD, Department of Neurology, Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston, SC), and colleagues conducted a study of 37,738,607 participants to estimate the health care costs in older adults with and without epilepsy. Researchers used the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component, with 2003‐2014 data. Unadjusted health care expenditures were estimated. A 2-part model was used to estimate independent health care expenditures.

Researchers identified 416,496 older adults with epilepsy. The prevalence of comorbidities was higher in older individuals vs younger individuals. Mean unadjusted yearly medical cost of epilepsy in older participants with epilepsy was $18,712 (95% CI = $15,947‐$21,476) during the pooled period 2003‐2014, nearly double the equivalent cost in older participants without epilepsy at $10,168 (95% CI = $9925‐$10 410).

Mean unadjusted annual medical cost of epilepsy in the older population increased by $2135: from $15,850 (95% CI = $10 668‐$21 032) in 2003‐2006 to $17,985 (95% CI = $13,710‐$22,260) in 2011‐2014. Adjusted mean total health care expenditures per person per year for older patients with epilepsy were $12, 526 in 2003‐2006, $13,423 in 2007‐2010, and $10,569 in 2011‐2014.

Adjusted incremental health care costs associated with epilepsy in older individuals accrued by $4595 (95% CI = $2399‐$6791) when compared to older participants without epilepsy. Authors estimated that the mean annual aggregate cost of epilepsy to be $7.8 billion for the US population.

Dr Lekoubou and coauthors concluded that health care expenditures among this growing group are 2 times higher than in those without epilepsy.—

—Amanda Del Signore

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