Burden of illness in patients with possible Lennox-Gastaut syndrome: A retrospective claims-based study

Epilepsy Behav. 2018 Nov;88:66-73. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2018.08.032. Epub 2018 Sep 18.


Objective: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) is a severe and treatment-resistant epilepsy syndrome characterized by multiple subtypes of intractable seizures, moderate to severe cognitive impairment, and slow spike-wave complexes on electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings. Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is also associated with increased risk for injury, reduced quality of life, long-term disability, and early mortality. By evaluating private and public US medical insurance claims, we quantified healthcare utilization and direct costs in patients with possible LGS.

Methods: Commercial and Medicaid insurance claims (Truven Health Analytics) from October 2010 to September 2015 were queried to identify patients with intractable epilepsy, intellectual disability, ≥1 prescription for selected antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), and ≥2 years of continuous enrollment. To identify patients with LGS in the absence of a specific International Classification of Diseases ICD-9 diagnosis code, current or prior rufinamide use was selected as a disease indicator of LGS per previously published methodology. Characteristics significantly predictive of rufinamide use were identified with multivariate regression by comparing groups with and without LGS, then assessed in non-rufinamide users fulfilling all other inclusion criteria. Controls without epilepsy, seizures, or prescriptions for selected AEDs were matched to patients with possible LGS by age, gender, US region, and dates of insurance coverage. Average healthcare utilization and costs per patient per year (PPPY) were evaluated for a 2-year postindex period and compared between the cohort with LGS and controls by insurance type. Costs were normalized to 2017 dollars at 3% per annum.

Results: In the study, 6019 patients with possible LGS (53% male, mean age of 13 years, in both insurance groups) were identified: 2270 with commercial insurance and 3749 with Medicaid. The cohort with LGS used >8 times more services and >7 times more drugs than controls (all p < 0.001) in both insurance groups. The biggest contributors to service use PPPY were outpatient physician visits and home health services in the commercial-insured cohort with LGS and other outpatient visits and home health services in the Medicaid-insured cohort with LGS. Average total costs PPPY (services + drugs) were significantly higher for the cohort with LGS vs. controls: $65,026 (SD $34,324) vs. $2442 (SD $10,670) for commercial-insured and $63,930 (SD $45,761) vs. $3849 (SD $13849) for Medicaid-insured patients. The biggest cost contributors PPPY were inpatient care in the commercial-insured cohort with LGS and home health services in the Medicaid-insured cohort with LGS.

Conclusions: Patients with possible LGS have significantly higher healthcare utilization and costs than patients without epilepsy or seizures. Our results suggest that direct costs associated with LGS are substantial and highlight the need for new and effective treatments.

Keywords: Commercial insurance; Direct costs; Epilepsy; Healthcare resource utilization; Lennox–Gastaut syndrome; Medicaid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Facilities and Services Utilization / economics
  • Facilities and Services Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insurance, Health / economics
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Lennox Gastaut Syndrome / economics*
  • Lennox Gastaut Syndrome / therapy
  • Male
  • Medicaid / economics
  • Medicaid / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States
  • Young Adult