Assessment of treatment patterns and healthcare costs associated with probable Lennox-Gastaut syndrome
Epilepsy & Behavior. Aug 2017;73:46-50
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) is a chronic and severe form of epilepsy characterized by intractable seizures, cognitive impairment, and abnormal electroencephalogram findings with slow spike-wave complexes. It typically presents before age 8, but symptoms continue into adulthood and require lifelong treatment associated with significant clinical burden. Data on LGS-associated healthcare utilization and costsare limited. In this study we use a claims-based LGS classifier based on random forest methodology to identify patients with probable LGS from the a Medicaid multi-state database and assess its prevalence across the age spectrum, healthcare utilization, treatment patterns, costs, and comorbid conditions. The classifier identified patients with probable LGS across all ages, with up to 8% of 10-year-old patients with epilepsy identified as having probable LGS. The prevalence of probable LGS was lower in older age cohorts, indicating that it may be under-recognized in older patients. Our analysis showed that probable LGS is associated with considerably higher total healthcare and medical costs than non-LGS patients. The costs were generally consistent between age cohorts, suggesting that the cost burden extends beyond childhood and has a lifelong impact. Analysis of treatment patterns suggest that while the majority of probable LGS patients in this study received widest-spectrum AEDs, a considerable proportion did not and therefore may have been inadequately treated. Further, usage of clobazam and rufinamide was decreased in older compared to younger patient cohorts, indicating that older patient cohorts are less likely to be receiving optimum treatment for LGS. These findings indicate the need for increased clinical attention to LGS beyond pediatric years, with a focus on optimization of treatment for LGS patients of all ages with widest-spectrum AEDs. Timely recognition and adequate treatment of LGS are likely to result in improved outcomes and less costly management of this condition.