Analysis of Patients with Focal Epilepsy and Drug-Resistant Epilepsy in Italy: Evaluation of Their Characteristics, Therapeutic Pathway and the Consumption of Healthcare Resources

Purpose: A retrospective analysis was conducted to estimate the number of patients with focal epilepsy and drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) and their characteristics, the therapeutic patterns, the consumption of health resources in a real-world Italian setting.
Patients and Methods: A retrospective study was carried out on the administrative databases of a sample of Italian Health Departments, covering approximately 8.7 million health-assisted individuals. All adult patients with at least one hospitalization for focal epilepsy and an electroencephalogram (between 01/2010 and 12/2019), and at least one prescription of antiseizure medication (ASM) (between 01/2011 and 12/2018) were included in the study. Patients with at least two treatment failures and treated with a subsequent ASM were considered DRE.
Results: Overall, 1897 patients with focal epilepsy (mean age 56 years, 47% male) were identified, of which 485 (25.6%) with DRE (mean age 53 years, 43% male). Among patients with focal epilepsy and DRE, respectively, 48% and 54% had essential hypertension, 23.4% and 26.6% had cardiovascular disease, and 46.3% and 62.1% had peptic ulcer/prescription of gastric secretion inhibitors. During follow-up, patients with focal epilepsy maintained first-line treatment for 53.9 months; among these, 52% passed to the secondline, and 485 (25.6% of the total) began third-line treatment. In patients with focal epilepsy, the mean cost was € 4448 (of which € 1410 were epilepsy-related), and in DRE patients total expenditures averages € 5825 (of which € 2165 were epilepsy-related). In both patients with focal epilepsy and DRE, hospitalizations represented the most impacting item of expenditure.
Conclusion: The present analysis conducted in a setting of Italian clinical practice has shown that 25% of patients with focal epilepsy were resistant to antiepileptic treatments. Furthermore, these results showed that health-care costs for the management of epileptic patients were mainly accountable for the costs related to the disease-management and to hospitalizations.