Burden of illness in people with medically refractory epilepsy who suffer from daily to weekly seizures: 12-month follow-up of participants in the EPISODE study

Valérie van Hezik-Wester*, Saskia de Groot, Tim Kanters, Matthijs Versteegh, Louis Wagner, Jacqueline Ardesch, Werner Brouwer, Job van Exel, EPISODE-team

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: A small group of people with epilepsy suffers from frequent seizures despite the available pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. The impact of epilepsy on these people extends beyond health-related quality of life (HRQoL), impacting a person's broader well-being and ability to participate in society. This study describes the burden of medically refractory epilepsy in people who suffer from daily to weekly seizures, in terms of HRQoL, well-being, and societal costs. Methods: Data from the EPISODE study on (cost-) effectiveness of seizure dogs for adults with severe medically refractory epilepsy were used, collected in 25 patients during the first 12 months before they were partnered with a certified seizure dog. Data comprised seizure diaries covering 365 days and five three-monthly surveys, including the EQ-5D-5L, QOLIE-31-P, and ICECAP-A to measure HRQoL and well-being. A societal perspective was applied to estimate costs using the iMCQ and iPCQ questionnaires about healthcare use, informal care, and productivity losses. Results: Daily seizure frequency and survey data were collected in 25 patients. A minimum of 114 observations was available for each instrument included in the survey. A total of 80% of participants experienced seizures on three or more days per week, with a median ranging from 1 to 17 seizures per seizure day. The mean EQ-5D-5L utility score was 0.682 (SD 0.235), which is considerably lower than the age-adjusted general population average. The mean QOLIE-31-P and ICECAP-A scores were 55.8 (SD 14.0) and 0.746 (SD 0.172), respectively. The average annual total cost amounted to €39,956 (range €3,804–€132,64). Informal care accounted for the largest share of costs (50%); those who received informal care reported, on average, 26 h per week (SD 30). Conclusions: Severe medically refractory epilepsy is associated with a considerable burden of illness at the patient and societal level. People with this condition have significantly reduced HRQoL and well-being and are limited in their ability to work while having substantial medical costs and a strong dependency on informal care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1012486
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: Copyright © 2022 van Hezik-Wester, de Groot, Kanters, Versteegh, Wagner, Ardesch, Brouwer and van Exel.


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