Background: Complex titration requirements and dosing of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) may pose a significant treatment burden for patients with epilepsy. This study evaluated health-care-resource utilization (HCRU) rates and costs by treatment burden, defined as number of daily pills and dosing frequency, among managed-care enrollees with epilepsy who initiated AED monotherapy.
Methods: This retrospective longitudinal study examined administrative HC-claim data in patients aged ≥18 years with two or more pharmacy claims for an AED and two or more medical claims for epilepsy or afebrile convulsion. The number of daily AED pills was estimated at index as the total number of pills dispensed divided by the days supplied, and categorized as more than zero/one, one/two, two/three, and more than three per day. AED-dosing frequency was measured at index and categorized as one, two, three, or four times daily. Postindex 12-month all-cause and epilepsy-related HCRU and costs were estimated using multivariable Poisson regression models and generalized linear models, respectively.
Results: Unadjusted total all-cause and epilepsy-related costs at 12 months postindex averaged US$26,015 per person and US$5,557 per person (2017 values), respectively. Adjusted all-cause and epilepsy-related costs were US$25,918 per person and US$5,602 per person, respectively. A pill burden of more than three a day was associated with a 6.7% increase in total annual HC costs compared with one pill/day. Patients receiving one/two, two/three, and more than three pills per day had 13.3%, 23.9%, and 38.3% higher epilepsy-related costs, respectively, than those receiving one pill per day (P<0.0001). Increase in dosing frequency was associated with greater total HCRU and higher costs, but only patients with twice-daily dosing had significantly higher epilepsy-related costs.
Conclusion: Findings from this study suggest that increased treatment burden is associated with greater HCRU and higher overall and epilepsy-related costs. Reducing treatment burden via selection of AED therapy with reduced pill numbers and dosing frequency should be considered to improve health and economic outcomes.