Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital and University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain
Epilepsy is an illness with multiple consequences and costs for children, families and society. There are only a few studies published on the cost of childhood epilepsy. The different methodologies used in these studies make it difficult to compare them or even to compare the cost of childhood epilepsy treatment with that of adult epilepsy. Nevertheless, studies highlight important differences in the distribution of costs associated with childhood epilepsy and epilepsy in adults. It is understandable that direct costs represent the higher percentage of the total cost associated with childhood epilepsy treatment, given the higher number of hospital admissions and investigations, as well as the complexity of therapeutic trials, while indirect costs represent the greater proportion in adult epilepsy treatment. In addition to age, the total cost associated with epilepsy also depends on other factors such as seizure frequency, the moment at which the illness cost is estimated and the local health care system. In summary, chronic illnesses not only have an influence on the physical and psychological development of children, they also impose costs on the family and society. Childhood epilepsy has greater economic costs than those generated by more prevalent, chronic illnesses.