Cost Minimization Analysis of Antiepileptic Drugs in Newly Diagnosed Epilepsy in 12 European Countries


Regional Neuro-Rehabilitation Unit, Homerton Hospital NHS Trust, Homerton Row, London E9 6SR, UK.


Summary A recent United Kingdom cost minimization analysis (CMA) of four antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) used to treat newly diagnosed adult epilepsy demonstrated that a new drug, lamotrigine (LTG), incurred higher costs than carbamazepine (CBZ), phenytoin (PHT), and valproate (VPA), whose costs were similar. This analysis took account of each drug's side-effect and tolerability profile. The present analysis investigated the costs of treatment with LTG, CBZ, PHT, and VPA in 12 European countries. Data were derived from published sources and from a panel of locally based experts. When no published data were available, estimates were obtained using expert opinion by a consensus method. These data were incorporated into a treatment pathway model, which considered the treatment of patients during the first 12 months after diagnosis. The primary outcome considered was seizure freedom. Randomized controlled trials demonstrate that the drugs considered are equally effective in terms of their ability to achieve seizure freedom, and thus the most appropriate form of economic evaluation is a CMA. These trials provided data on the incidence of side effects, dosages, and retention rates. The economic perspective taken was that of society as a whole and the analysis was calculated on an “intent-to-treat” basis. Only direct medical costs were considered. In each country considered, LTG was twofold to threefold more expensive than the other drugs considered. A sensitivity analysis demonstrated that varying each of the assumptions (range defined by expert panels) did not significantly alter the results obtained.