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New study showed higher healthcare costs associated with poor epilepsy control

· US analysis of healthcare costs with stable and unstable AED treatment presented at the 29th International Epilepsy Congress

For the attention of accredited medical writers only

Brussels (Belgium), 31st August 2011 – 0700 CET – Results of a new study have shown that overall US healthcare costs for epilepsy patients with unstable AED treatment (switch, add-on or discontinuation of treatment) during a two-year period were at least twice those of patients on stable treatment (no change in treatment regimen), and emergency room costs were approximately 3-8 times higher than for those on stable therapy.

Results from this retrospective cohort study conducted using a US administrative health claims data was presented this week at the 29th International Epilepsy Congress in Rome, Italy1.

“This study has shown that the cost of treating patients who need to change their AED because of poor seizure control or unacceptable side effects is high, and suggests that fast, sustained epilepsy control is not only beneficial for people with epilepsy, it also reduces healthcare costs for society,” commented study author, Dr. Florent Richy, Head of Global Epidemiology, UCB and Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Liege, Belgium.

The study followed 12,718 patients with epilepsy taking one or more AEDs over a two-year period. Demographic features, baseline characteristics and total annual healthcare costs were stratified by AED treatment pattern (stable versus unstable) during the observation period.

Of all patients included in the study, 53% had unstable AED therapy during the study (22% add-on, 6% switch, 25% discontinuation). Eighteen percent of patients with stable treatment had been diagnosed one year or less prior to baseline, compared to 28% with unstable treatment.

Overall healthcare cost for patients with an AED switch ($28,732) or add-on ($31,321) were two-fold or more higher than the overall healthcare costs for patients on stable treatment ($11,505). Emergency room costs for patients with unstable AED treatment (add-on, $9240, switch, $6392, discontinuation, $3,012) were approximately 3- to 8-times higher than for those on stable therapy ($1,176).

* Data Source: IMS LifeLink : Health Plan Claims Database , PharMetrics, Inc., a unit of IMS Health, Watertown, WA. ©2009, All Rights Reserved.

The IMS LifeLink Health Plan Claims Database includes longitudinal, integrated, patient-level medical and pharmaceutical claims comprising five billion patient observations from across the United States comprised of over 70 million patients from over 100 health plans, including medical services and prescription drug information across the entire continuum of care.

For further information
Eimear O Brien, Associate Director, Global CNS Communications

T +32 2 559 9271, eimear.obrien@ucb.com


  1. Richy F, Clark C, Makaroff L, Gervasoni C, Kaufman D. Stable and unstable treatment patterns in epilepsy and their direct cost impact: Pharmetrics analysis of AED add-on therapy, switches and discontinuations. Presented at the 29th International Epilepsy Congress in Rome, Italy (28th August-1st September)

About UCB
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With more than 8 500 people in about 40 countries, the company generated revenue of EUR 3.2 billion in 2010. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).

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