Systematic Review of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis for Surgical and Neurostimulation Treatments for Drug-Resistant Epilepsy in Adults

Nicholas Ngan Kee, Emma Foster, Clara Marquina, Eng Joo Tan, Samantha S.T. Pang, Terence J. O'Brien, Patrick Kwan, Graeme Jackson, Zhibin Chen, Zanfina Ademi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background and ObjectivesSurgical and neurostimulator treatments are effective for reducing seizure burden in selected individuals living with drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE). We aimed to determine the presence and key model determinants for cost-effectiveness of these interventions, compared with medical management alone, to assist with decisions about resource allocation.MethodsA systematic literature search was conducted on June 1, 2022, using MEDLINE, EMBASE, the NHS Economic Evaluation Database, and the Cost-Effectiveness Analysis database. Included studies were economic evaluations in adult DRE cohorts, comparing surgical and neurostimulator treatments (vagus nerve stimulation [VNS], responsive neurostimulation [RNS], and deep brain stimulation [DBS]) vs medical management alone and reporting cost-benefit analysis, cost-utility, or cost-effectiveness. Exclusion criteria were studies with pediatric cohorts and those published in a language other than English. Three independent reviewers screened, extracted, and assessed data against the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards checklist, and a fourth reviewer adjudicated discrepancies.ResultsTen studies met inclusion criteria. Seven studies evaluated epilepsy surgery, and 3 evaluated neurostimulation treatments. All relevant studies established that epilepsy surgery is a cost-effective intervention compared with medical management alone, for quality-adjusted life-years and seizure freedom at 2 and 5 years. All relevant studies found neurostimulator treatments to be potentially cost-effective. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER), with lower ICER indicating greater cost-effectiveness, was reported for 9 studies and varied between GBP £3,013 and US $61,333. Cost adaptation revealed ICERs from US $170 to US $121,726. Key model determinants included, but were not limited to, improved surgical outcomes and quality of life, reduced surgical and presurgical evaluation costs, higher rates of surgical eligibility after referral and evaluation, epilepsy subtype, less expensive neurostimulator devices with improved longevity, and cost analysis strategy used in the analysis.DiscussionThere is consistent evidence that epilepsy surgery is a cost-effective treatment of eligible candidates with DRE. Limited evidence suggests that VNS, RNS, and DBS may be cost-effective therapies for DRE, although more health economic evaluations alongside prospective clinical trials are needed to validate these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1866-e1877
Number of pages13
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2023

Cite this