Introduction: The economic magnitude of epilepsy is determined by its effect on the employment status of the patients, the cost of drug treatment for them and the healthcare system and the repercussion worldwide.
Development: Studies of the cost of the disease show that it has economic importance due to the sum of the direct and indirect costs caused by it. In the case of epilepsy, the results of studies in various countries led to the creation of a Commission on Economic Aspects of Epilepsy. The lack of epidemiological studies regarding epilepsy in Spain may explain the lack of publications on this subject in our country. The percentage of the total cost due to antiepileptic drugs is considerable and will probably increase in the future. The pharmaco-economic evaluation made by cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness, cost-usefulness analysis and studies to minimize costs should serve to use healthcare resources in the most effective manner and justify the rational use of the new antiepileptic drugs.
Conclusions: The economic impact of epilepsy is added to the repercussion of the disease itself on the patient and his family. The different distribution of costs in children and adults with epilepsy suggest the need for intervention at an early age to try to reduce the long term economic and personal repercussions. The pharmaco-economic evaluation of the new antiepileptic drugs will make it clear whether their considerable cost is worth paying for their greater effectivity.