Prevalence and cost of epilepsy in Sweden--a register-based approach

Acta Neurol Scand. 2015 Jan;131(1):37-44. doi: 10.1111/ane.12297. Epub 2014 Sep 7.


Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of epilepsy, costs associated with in- and outpatient care, drug utilization and productivity losses due to epilepsy in Sweden for the years 2005 and 2011.

Methods: Cost components were calculated using registry data on inpatient- and outpatient-care utilization, drug sales and early pensions granted due to permanent disability and mortality. Moreover, by cross-identification of information in healthcare and pharmaceutical registries, we were able to distinguish between pharmaceuticals prescribed for epilepsy and non-epilepsy indications.

Results: The prevalence of epilepsy was estimated at 0.62% in 2005 and 0.88% in 2011. The total cost of epilepsy increased during the same period, while the per-patient cost decreased from €2929 to €1729. Direct medical costs accounted for about 36% of the estimated total cost in 2005 and 60% in 2011. The estimated healthcare cost due to epilepsy as a share of total healthcare costs for all illnesses was about the same in 2005 as in 2011 (0.2%), while the corresponding pharmaceutical cost increased from about 0.5% in 2005 to almost 1% in 2011.

Conclusions: The per-patient cost of epilepsy is substantial, implying a significant aggregated cost incurred on society (despite a prevalence < 1%). Our results suggest that the per-patient pharmaceutical utilization increased, while the per-patient physician visits and hospitalizations decreased, between 2005 and 2011. Moreover, we demonstrate that the 2005 prevalence measure was underestimated the true prevalence in 2005.

Keywords: cost-of-illness; drug utilization; epilepsy; health economics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care / economics
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics
  • Epilepsy / economics*
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Registries
  • Sweden / epidemiology