Purser MF, Mladsi DM, Beckman A, Barion F, Forsey J. Expected budget impact and health outcomes of expanded use of vagus nerve stimulation therapy for drug-resistant epilepsy. Adv Ther. 2018 Oct;35(10):1686-96. doi: 10.1007/s12325-018-0775-0.

INTRODUCTION: The objective was to estimate, from the perspective of a managed care organization in the United States, the budget impact and effect on health outcomes of expanded use of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS [VNSTherapy®]) among patients aged ≥12 years with drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) with partial-onset seizures.

METHODS: An Excel model was developed to compare the costs of continued anti-epileptic drug (AED) treatment with the costs of VNS plus AED treatment. The number of people eligible for VNS was estimated using published prevalence data and an estimate of the percentage of eligible patients currently without VNS. Costs included VNS device, placement, programming, and battery changes; adverse events associated with VNS (cough, voice alteration, device removal resulting from surgical site infection); AEDs; and seizure-related costs affected by seizure frequency, which affects resource utilization (i.e., hospitalizations, emergency department (ED) visits, neurologist visits). To estimate the potential savings with VNS due to a reduction in seizure frequency, the budget-impact model uses the results of an underlying Markov model to estimate seizure-related costs by seizure frequency. Transitions occurred among four health states, defined by number of seizures per month (i.e., seizure free, ≤1, >1 to <10, ≥10) on a 3-month cycle based on published clinical trials and registry data.

RESULTS: VNS resulted in an estimated net cost savings, on average, over 5 years, due to the expected reduction in seizure frequency. The initial cost of the VNS device, placement, and programming was estimated to be offset 1.7 years after VNS device placement. Reductions in hospitalizations were the main contributor to the cost savings with VNS.

CONCLUSIONS: VNS is a proven intervention that offers a long-term solution for patients with DRE by reducing seizure frequency, which leads to lower resource utilization and lower costs.

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