The cost-effectiveness of newer drugs as add-on therapy for children with focal epilepsies

Seizure. 2007 Mar;16(2):99-112. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2006.10.017. Epub 2006 Dec 11.


Purpose: Epilepsies in children are complex diseases. Guidelines are needed on the appropriate use of newer versus older anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). This paper presents an individual patient-sampling model to assess the cost-effectiveness of using newer AEDs as add-on therapy in line with UK prescribing guidance.

Methods: Identification of the relevant parameters and treatment pathways for the model were achieved by a systematic review of the literature and discussions with clinical experts. Data were obtained from the literature and supplemented with data elicited from paediatric neurologists. The model considered paediatric patients over the period of childhood from the age of diagnosis to 18 years.

Results: The results suggest that the older and newer AEDs are similar in terms of drug retention rates and the average time in 'good' treatment outcomes. In terms of cost, the results indicate a consistent increase in cost (compared to older AEDs) when all of the newer AEDs are considered. The decision analysis results indicate that there are no important health benefits from the use of newer AEDs when used as add-on therapy. However, the analysis also reveals that the uncertainties in the model are greater than the differences between the drug strategies.

Conclusions: To develop guidelines on the appropriate use of newer AEDs, better information is required from randomised controlled trials as there is insufficient data available in the public domain to accurately estimate the nature of the trade off between older versus newer AEDs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects
  • Anticonvulsants / economics*
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Epilepsies, Partial / drug therapy
  • Epilepsies, Partial / economics*
  • Humans
  • Models, Economic*
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anticonvulsants