Cost-of-Illness of Epilepsy in Italy: Data from a Multicentre Observational Study (Episcreen)
Objective: To investigate the impact of epilepsy in Italy on healthcare resources, producing an average cost per patient per year of follow-up. Design and setting: The Episcreen Project is a multicentre longitudinal Italian observational study; its methodology, organisational network and case report form have been reported in detail elsewhere. Using a subset of patients with epilepsy from this project, we conducted a retrospective cost-of-illness analysis based on clinical records. The analysis was performed from the societal (community) perspective, including both direct and indirect costs. Hospital admissions, day-hospital visits, specialist visits, instrumental examinations, drugs and productivity losses because of visits and hospitalisation were analysed. Each cost variable was valued in 1996 Italian liras (L) using published national tariffs (except for drugs for which published prices were used). A sensitivity analysis was conducted on indirect costs to test the robustness of the assumption that 1 working day lost for each day hospital visit would produce a change of 0.3% in the weight of indirect costs. Patients and participants: Patients analysed in this study were registered in the Episcreen database as at 21 November 1996. They were diagnosed with epilepsy at the last visit, had at least 1 follow-up visit (i.e. at least 1 visit after the enrolment visit), and had at least 12 months of follow-up. Results: The average cost per patient per year was L2 726 116 ($US1767). The average cost per patient was higher for children than for adults [L3 629 997 ($US2353) and L2 362 134 ($US1531), respectively), and for newly diagnosed patients for whom the first diagnosis of epilepsy was addressed at the first Episcreen visit [adults: old referrals L1 304 353 ($US845), new referrals L6 901 374 ($US4473); children: old referrals L2 810 504 ($US1822), new referrals L7 814 400 ($US5065)]. Direct costs represented 87.6% of total costs. The major cost driver was hospitalisation (63.7%), followed by drugs (10.5%), day-hospital visits (4.1%), outpatient visits (3.85%), other tests (3.1%) and electroencephalographs (2.3%). Indirect costs (lost productivity) represented 12.4% of total costs. Sensitivity analysis showed that the results are sensitive to the value attributed to lost productivity. Conclusions: The cost of managing a patient with epilepsy in Italy is influenced by age, syndrome and modality of referral to the centre for epilepsy.
Anticonvulsants, Cost of illness, Epilepsy, Pharmacoeconomics, Resource use
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