What's Current?

Costs of epilepsy and cost-driving factors in children, adolescents, and their caregivers in Germany

Epilepsia - 16 hours 46 min ago
Summary Objective

To provide first data on the cost of epilepsy and cost-driving factors in children, adolescents, and their caregivers in Germany.

Methods

A population-based, cross-sectional sample of consecutive children and adolescents with epilepsy was evaluated in the states of Hessen and Schleswig-Holstein (total of 8.796 million inhabitants) in all health care sectors in 2011. Data on socioeconomic status, course of epilepsy, and direct and indirect costs were recorded using patient questionnaires.

Results

We collected data from 489 children and adolescents (mean age ± SD 10.4 ± 4.2 years, range 0.5–17.8 years; 264 [54.0%] male) who were treated by neuropediatricians (n = 253; 51.7%), at centers for social pediatrics (“Sozialpaediatrische Zentren,” n = 110, 22.5%) and epilepsy centers (n = 126; 25.8%). Total direct costs summed up to €1,619 ± €4,375 per participant and 3-month period. Direct medical costs were due mainly to hospitalization (47.8%, €774 ± €3,595 per 3 months), anticonvulsants (13.2%, €213 ± €363), and ancillary treatment (9.1%, €147 ± €344). The total indirect costs amounted to €1,231 ± €2,830 in mothers and to €83 ± €593 in fathers; 17.4% (n = 85) of mothers and 0.6% (n = 3) of fathers reduced their working hours or quit work because of their child's epilepsy. Independent cost-driving factors were younger age, symptomatic cause, and polytherapy with anticonvulsants. Older age, active epilepsy, symptomatic cause, and polytherapy were independent predictors of higher antiepileptic drug (AED) costs, whereas younger age, longer epilepsy duration, symptomatic cause, disability, and parental depression were independent predictors for higher indirect costs.

Significance

Treatment of children and adolescents with epilepsy is associated with high direct costs due to frequent inpatient admissions and high indirect costs due to productivity losses in mothers. Direct costs are age-dependent and higher in patients with symptomatic epilepsy and polytherapy. Indirect costs are higher in the presence of a child's disability and parental depression.

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Epilepsia - 18 hours 5 min ago
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Acetazolamide for electrical status epilepticus in slow-wave sleep

Epilepsia - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 06:02
Summary

Electrical status epilepticus in slow-wave sleep (ESES) is characterized by nearly continuous spike–wave discharges during non–rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. ESES is present in Landau-Kleffner syndrome (LKS) and continuous spike and wave in slow-wave sleep (CSWS). Sulthiame has demonstrated reduction in spike–wave index (SWI) in ESES, but is not available in the United States. Acetazolamide (AZM) is readily available and has similar pharmacologic properties. Our aims were to assess the effect of AZM on SWI and clinical response in children with LKS and CSWS. Children with LKS or CSWS treated with AZM at our institution were identified retrospectively. Pre- and posttherapy electroencephalography (EEG) studies were evaluated for SWI. Parental and teacher report of clinical improvement was recorded. Six children met criteria for inclusion. Three children (50%) demonstrated complete resolution or SWI <5% after AZM. All children had improvement in clinical seizures and subjective improvement in communication skills and school performance. Five of six children had subjective improvement in hyperactivity and attention. AZM is a potentially effective therapy for children with LKS and CSWS. This study lends to the knowledge of potential therapies that can be used for these disorders, which can be challenging for families and providers.

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Correlates of disability related to seizures in persons with epilepsy

Epilepsia - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 06:01
Summary Objective

Seizure-related disability is an important contributor to health-related quality of life in persons with epilepsy. Yet, there is little information on patient-centered reports of seizure-related disability, as most studies focus on specific constructs of health-related disability, rather than epilepsy. We investigated how patients rate their own disability and how these ratings correlate with various clinical and sociodemographic characteristics.

Methods

In a prospective cohort of 250 adults with epilepsy consecutively enrolled in the Neurological Disease and Depression Study (NEEDs), we obtained a broad range of clinical and patient-reported measures, including patients' ratings of seizure-related disability and epilepsy severity using self-completed, single-item, 7-point response global assessment scales. Spearman's correlation, multiple linear regression, and mediation analyses were used to examine the association between seizure-related disability scores and clinical and demographic characteristics of persons with epilepsy.

Results

The mean age and duration of epilepsy was 39.8 and 16.7 years, respectively. About 29.5% of the patients reported their seizures as “not at all disabling,” whereas 5.8% of the patients reported them as “extremely disabling.” Age, seizure freedom at 1 year, anxiety, and epilepsy severity were identified as statistically significant predictors of disability scores. The indirect effects of age and seizure freedom, attributable to mediation through epilepsy severity, accounted for 25.0% and 30.3% of the total effects of these determinants on seizure-related disability, respectively.

Significance

Measuring seizure-related disability has heuristic value and it has important correlates and mediators that can be targeted for intervention in practice. Addressing modifiable factors associated with disability (e.g., seizure freedom and anxiety) could have a significant impact on decreasing the burden of disability in people with epilepsy.

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Improving the inter-rater agreement of hypsarrhythmia using a simplified EEG grading scale for children with infantile spasms

Epilepsy Research Journal - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 00:00
Infantile spasms are seizures that are typical of West syndrome – an electroclinical syndrome with infantile spasms, developmental stagnation or regression, and electroencephalogram (EEG) evidence of an epileptic encephalopathy (Pellock et al., 2010). The classic EEG signature of the epileptic encephalopathy in West syndrome was first described by Gibbs and Gibbs in 1952 who called it “hypsar[r]hythmia” (Gibbs and Gibbs, 1952). Although remission of hypsarrhythmia has been viewed as an important clinical and research outcome measure, recent evidence suggests that the inter-rater reliability of hypsarrhythmia is poor (Hussain et al., 2015).
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Etiologic features and utilization of antiepileptic drugs in people with chronic epilepsy in China: Report from the Epilepsy Cohort of Huashan Hospital (ECoH)

Epilepsy Research Journal - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 00:00
Epilepsy is a disorder characterized by an enduring predisposition to generate epileptic seizures and by neurobiologic, cognitive, psychological and social consequences of this condition(Fisher et al., 2005). As a chronic disorder, epilepsy has a multifaceted adverse impact on not merely the person with the condition, but also their family and even the society. Except for being exposed to the danger of accidents and injuries by the unpredictable epileptic seizure(Wirrell, 2006), people with epilepsy still suffer from higher premature mortality(Neligan et al., 2011), adverse drug reactions to antiepileptic drugs(AEDs)(Perucca and Gilliam, 2012), and other somatic comorbidities(Gaitatzis et al., 2012).
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Temporal lobe epilepsy patients with severe hippocampal neuron loss but normal hippocampal volume: Extracellular matrix molecules are important for the maintenance of hippocampal volume

Epilepsia - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 06:03
Summary Objective

Hippocampal sclerosis is a common finding in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies associate the reduction of hippocampal volume with the neuron loss seen on histologic evaluation. Astrogliosis and increased levels of chondroitin sulfate, a major component of brain extracellular matrix, are also seen in hippocampal sclerosis. Our aim was to evaluate the association between hippocampal volume and chondroitin sulfate, as well as neuronal and astroglial populations in the hippocampus of patients with TLE.

Methods

Patients with drug-resistant TLE were subdivided, according to hippocampal volume measured by MRI, into two groups: hippocampal atrophy (HA) or normal volume (NV) cases. Hippocampi from TLE patients and age-matched controls were submitted to immunohistochemistry to evaluate neuronal population, astroglial population, and chondroitin sulfate expression with antibodies against neuron nuclei protein (NeuN), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), and chondroitin sulfate (CS-56) antigens, respectively.

Results

Both TLE groups were clinically similar. NV cases had higher hippocampal volume, both ipsilateral and contralateral, when compared to HA. Compared to controls, NV and HA patients had reduced neuron density, and increased GFAP and CS-56 immunopositive area. There was no statistical difference between NV and HA groups in neuron density or immunopositive areas for GFAP and CS-56. Hippocampal volume correlated positively with neuron density in CA1 and prosubiculum, and with immunopositive areas for CS-56 in CA1, and negatively with immunopositive area for GFAP in CA1. Multiple linear regression analysis indicated that both neuron density and CS-56 immunopositive area in CA1 were statistically significant predictors of hippocampal volume.

Significance

Our findings indicate that neuron density and chondroitin sulfate immunopositive area in the CA1 subfield are crucial for the hippocampal volume, and that chondroitin sulfate is important for the maintenance of a normal hippocampal volume in some cases with severe neuron loss.

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Is the first seizure epilepsy—and when?

Epilepsia - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 05:20
Summary Objective

Epilepsy has recently been redefined to include a single unprovoked seizure if the probability of recurrence is ≥60% over the following 10 years. This definition is based on the estimated risk of a third seizure after two unprovoked seizures, using the lower-limit 95% confidence interval (CI) at 4 years, and does not account for the initially high recurrence rate after first-ever seizure that rapidly falls with increasing duration of seizure freedom. We analyzed long-term outcomes after the first-ever seizure, and the influence of duration of seizure freedom on the likelihood of seizure recurrence, and their relevance to the new definition of epilepsy.

Methods

Prospective analysis of 798 adults with a first-ever unprovoked seizure seen at a hospital-based first seizure clinic between 2000 and 2011. The likelihood of seizure recurrence was analyzed according to the duration of seizure freedom, etiology, electroencephalography (EEG), and neuroimaging findings.

Results

The likelihood of seizure recurrence at 10 years was ≥60% in patients with epileptiform abnormalities on EEG or neuroimaging abnormalities, therefore, meeting the new definition of epilepsy. However, the risk of recurrence was highly time dependent; after a brief period (≤12 weeks) of seizure freedom, no patient group continued to fulfill the new definition of epilepsy. Of 407 patients who had a second seizure, the likelihood of a third seizure at 4 years was 68% (95% CI 63–73%) and at 10 years was 85% (95% CI 79–91%).

Significance

The duration of seizure freedom following first-ever seizure substantially influences the risk of recurrence, with none of our patients fulfilling the new definition of epilepsy after a short period of seizure freedom. When a threshold was applied based on the 10-year risk of a third seizure from our data, no first-seizure patient group ever had epilepsy. These data may be utilized in a definition of epilepsy after a first-ever seizure.

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The number of seizures needed in the EMU

Epilepsia - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 05:14
Summary Objective

The purpose of this study was to develop a quantitative framework to estimate the likelihood of multifocal epilepsy based on the number of unifocal seizures observed in the epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU).

Methods

Patient records from the EMU at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) from 2012 to 2014 were assessed for the presence of multifocal seizures as well the presence of multifocal interictal discharges and multifocal structural imaging abnormalities during the course of the EMU admission. Risk factors for multifocal seizures were assessed using sensitivity and specificity analysis. A Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to estimate the risk of multifocal epilepsy for a given number of consecutive seizures. To overcome the limits of the Kaplan-Meier analysis, a parametric survival function was fit to the EMU subjects with multifocal seizures and this was used to develop a Bayesian model to estimate the risk of multifocal seizures during an EMU admission.

Results

Multifocal interictal discharges were a significant predictor of multifocal seizures within an EMU admission with a p < 0.01, albeit with only modest sensitivity 0.74 and specificity 0.69. Multifocal potentially epileptogenic lesions on MRI were not a significant predictor p = 0.44. Kaplan-Meier analysis was limited by wide confidence intervals secondary to significant patient dropout and concern for informative censoring. The Bayesian framework provided estimates for the number of unifocal seizures needed to predict absence of multifocal seizures. To achieve 90% confidence for the absence of multifocal seizure, three seizures are needed when the pretest probability for multifocal epilepsy is 20%, seven seizures for a pretest probability of 50%, and nine seizures for a pretest probability of 80%.

Significance

These results provide a framework to assist clinicians in determining the utility of trying to capture a specific number of seizures in EMU evaluations of candidates for epilepsy surgery.

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Intranasal midazolam during presurgical epilepsy monitoring is well tolerated, delays seizure recurrence, and protects from generalized tonic–clonic seizures

Epilepsia - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 05:07
Summary Objective

To evaluate the tolerability and efficacy of the ictal and immediate postictal application of intranasal midazolam (in-MDZ) in adolescents and adults during video–electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring.

Methods

Medical records of all patients treated with in-MDZ between 2008 and 2014 were reviewed retrospectively. For each single patient, the time span until recurrence of seizures was analyzed after an index seizure with and without in-MDZ application. To prevent potential bias, we defined the first seizure with application of in-MDZ as the in-MDZ index seizure. The control index seizure was the preceding, alternatively the next successive seizure without application of in-MDZ.

Results

In total, 75 epilepsy patients (mean age 34 ± 14.7 years; 42 male, 33 female) were treated with in-MDZ (mean dose 5.1 mg). Adverse events were observed in four patients (5.3%), and no serious adverse events occurred. The median time after EEG seizure onset before administration of in-MDZ was 2.17 min (interquartile range [IQR] 03.82; range 0.13–15.0 min). Over the next 12 h after in-MDZ, the number of seizures was significantly lower (p = 0.031). The median seizure-free interval was significantly longer following treatment with in-MDZ (5.83 h; IQR 6.83, range 0.4–23.87) than it was for those with no in-MDZ treatment (2.37 h; IQR 4.87, range 0.03–21.87; p = 0.015). Conversely, the likelihood of the patient developing a subsequent seizure was four times higher (odds ratio [OR] 4.33, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.30–14.47) in the first hour and decreased gradually after 12 h (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.06–2.12). The occurrence of generalized tonic–clonic seizures was lower in the in-MDZ group in the 24-h observation period (OR 4.67, 95% CI 1.41–15.45; p = 0.009).

Significance

Ictal and immediate postictal administration of in-MDZ was well tolerated and not associated with serious adverse events. We demonstrated a significant reduction of subsequent seizures (all seizure types) for a 12 h period and of generalized tonic–clonic seizures for 24 h following in-MDZ.

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The direct cost of epilepsy in the United States: A systematic review of estimates

Epilepsia - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 05:06
Summary Objective

To develop estimates of the direct cost of epilepsy in the United States for the general epilepsy population and sub-populations by systematically comparing similarities and differences in types of estimates and estimation methods from recently published studies.

Methods

Papers published since 1995 were identified by systematic literature search. Information on types of estimates, study designs, data sources, types of epilepsy, and estimation methods was extracted from each study. Annual per person cost estimates from methodologically similar studies were identified, converted to 2013 U.S. dollars, and compared.

Results

From 4,104 publications discovered in the literature search, 21 were selected for review. Three were added that were published after the search. Eighteen were identified that reported estimates of average annual direct costs for the general epilepsy population in the United States. For general epilepsy populations (comprising all clinically defined subgroups), total direct healthcare costs per person ranged from $10,192 to $47,862 and epilepsy-specific costs ranged from $1,022 to $19,749. Four recent studies using claims data from large general populations yielded relatively similar epilepsy-specific annual cost estimates ranging from $8,412 to $11,354. Although more difficult to compare, studies examining direct cost differences for epilepsy sub-populations indicated a consistent pattern of markedly higher costs for those with uncontrolled or refractory epilepsy, and for those with comorbidities.

Significance

This systematic review found that various approaches have been used to estimate the direct costs of epilepsy in the United States. However, recent studies using large claims databases and similar methods allow estimation of the direct cost burden of epilepsy for the general disease population, and show that it is greater for some patient subgroups. Additional research is needed to further understand the broader economic burden of epilepsy and how it varies across subpopulations.

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Applying a perceptions and practicalities approach to understanding nonadherence to antiepileptic drugs

Epilepsia - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 04:33
Summary Objective

Nonadherence to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) is a common cause of poor seizure control. This study examines whether reported adherence to AEDs is related to variables identified in the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) Medicines Adherence Guidelines as being important to adherence: perceptual factors (AED necessity beliefs and concerns), practical factors (limitations in capability and resources), and perceptions of involvement in treatment decisions.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional study of people with epilepsy receiving AEDs. Participants completed an online survey hosted by the Epilepsy Society (n = 1,010), or as an audit during inpatient admission (n = 118). Validated questionnaires, adapted for epilepsy, assessed reported adherence to AEDs (Medication Adherence Report Scale [MARS]), perceptions of AEDs (Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire [BMQ]), and patient perceptions of involvement in treatment decisions (Treatment Empowerment Scale [TES]).

Results

Low adherence was related to AED beliefs (doubts about necessity: t(577) = 3.90, p < 0.001; and concerns: t(995) = 3.45, p = 0.001), reported limitations in capability and resources (t(589) = 7.78, p < 0.001), and to perceptions of a lack of involvement in treatment decisions (t(623) = 4.48, p < 0.001). In multiple logistic regression analyses, these factors significantly (p < 0.001) increased variance in reported adherence, above that which could be explained by age and clinical variables (seizure frequency, type, epilepsy duration, number of AEDs prescribed).

Significance

Variables identified in the NICE Medicines Adherence Guidelines as potentially important factors for adherence were found to be related to adherence to AEDs. These factors are potentially modifiable. Interventions to support optimal adherence to AEDs should be tailored to address doubts about AED necessity and concerns about harm, and to overcome practical difficulties, while engaging patients in treatment decisions.

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DEPDC5 mutations are not a frequent cause of familial temporal lobe epilepsy

Epilepsia - Mon, 07/27/2015 - 04:32
Summary

Mutations in the DEPDC5 (DEP domain–containing protein 5) gene are a major cause of familial focal epilepsy with variable foci (FFEVF) and are predicted to account for 12–37% of families with inherited focal epilepsies. To assess the clinical impact of DEPDC5 mutations in familial temporal lobe epilepsy, we screened a collection of Italian families with either autosomal dominant lateral temporal epilepsy (ADLTE) or familial mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (FMTLE). The probands of 28 families classified as ADLTE and 17 families as FMTLE were screened for DEPDC5 mutations by whole exome or targeted massive parallel sequencing. Putative mutations were validated by Sanger sequencing. We identified a DEPDC5 nonsense mutation (c.918C>G; p.Tyr306*) in a family with two affected members, clinically classified as FMTLE. The proband had temporal lobe seizures with prominent psychic symptoms (déjà vu, derealization, and forced thoughts); her mother had temporal lobe seizures, mainly featuring visceral epigastric auras and anxiety. In total, we found a single DEPDC5 mutation in one of (2.2%) 45 families with genetic temporal lobe epilepsy, a proportion much lower than that reported in other inherited focal epilepsies.

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