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Epilepsy and Comorbidities: Clinical and Cost Implications

Epilepsy and Comorbidities: Clinical and Cost Implications


Epilepsy is associated with a number of comorbidities—the most common of which are psychiatric disorders (Table).

This finding, based on a recently published study by Andrew Wilner, MD, and colleagues, may affect how patients with epilepsy are treated and monitored.

In this 5 minute podcast, Dr. Wilner, a neurologist and neurohospitalist associated with Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London, CT, elaborates on key study findings and discusses possible implications for clinical practice.

The key findings from the study:

1. About half the 6621 patients had at least 1 comorbidity.

2. The most common comorbidity was psychiatric.

3. The presence of a single comorbidity approximately tripled the cost of care.

Table. Top 10 Comorbidities for Men and Women with Epilepsy (N=6621)

Men Women
Psychiatric (15%)Psychatric (16%)
Hyperlipidemia (12%)Hypertension (12%)
Hypertension (12%)Asthma (11%)
Asthma (8%)Hyperlipidemia (11%)
Diabetes (5%)Headache (7%)
Headache (4%)Diabetes (6%)
Cancer (4%)Urinary tract infection (5%)
Coronary artery disease (3%)Hypothyroidism (5%)
Anemia (3%)Anemia (5%)
GERD (3%)Migraine (4%)

Adapted from Wilner et al. Common comorbidities in women and men with epilepsy and the relationship
between number of comorbidities and health plan paid costs in 2010.
Epilepsy Behav. 2014;32:15-20.

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