Purpose: To provide 1995 estimates of the lifetime and annual cost of epilepsy in the United States using data from patients with epilepsy, and adjusting for the effects of comorbidities and socioeconomic conditions.
Methods: Direct treatment-related costs of epilepsy from onset through 6 years were derived from billing and medical chart data for 608 population-based incident cases at two sites in different regions of the country. Indirect productivity-related costs were derived from a survey of 1,168 adult patients visiting regional treatment centers. Direct costs separate the effects of epilepsy and comorbidity conditions. Indirect costs account for the effects of other disabilities and socioeconomic conditions on foregone earnings and household activity. The estimates were applied to 1995 population figures to derive national projections of the lifetime and annual costs of the disorder.
Results: The lifetime cost of epilepsy for an estimated 181,000 people with onset in 1995 is projected at $11.1 billion, and the annual cost for the estimated 2.3 million prevalent cases is estimated at $12.5 billion. Indirect costs account for 85% of the total and, with direct costs, are concentrated in people with intractable epilepsy.
Conclusions: Direct costs attributable to epilepsy are below previous estimates. Indirect costs adjusted for the socioeconomic conditions of patients are above previous estimates. Findings indicate that epilepsy is unique in the large proportion of costs that are productivity-related, justifying further investment in the development of effective interventions.