February 25, 2022

Antiseizure Medication Use and Medical Resource Utilization After Resective Epilepsy Surgery in Children in the United States: A Contemporary Nationwide Cross-Sectional Cohort Analysis

Abstract published in Wiley Online Library

Objective: Antiseizure drug (ASD) therapy can significantly impact quality of life for pediatric patients whose epilepsy remains refractory to medications and who experience neuropsychological side effects manifested by impaired cognitive and social development. Contemporary patterns of ASD reduction after pediatric epilepsy surgery across practice settings in the United States are sparsely reported outside of small series. We assessed timing and durability of ASD reduction after pediatric epilepsy surgery and associated effects on health care utilization.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 376 pediatric patients who underwent resective epilepsy surgery between 2007 and 2016 in the United States using the Truven MarketScan database. Filled ASD prescriptions during the pre- and postoperative periods were compared. Univariate and multivariate analyses identified factors associated with achieving a stable discontinuation of or reduction in number of ASDs. Health care utilization and costs were systematically compared.

Results: One hundred seventy-one patients (45.5%) achieved a >90-day ASD-free period after surgery, and 84 (22.3%) additional patients achieved a stable reduction in number of ASDs. Achieving ASD freedom was more common in patients undergoing total hemispherectomy (n = 21, p = .002), and less common in patients with tuberous sclerosis (p = .003). A higher number of preoperative ASDs was associated with a greater likelihood of achieving ASD reduction postoperatively (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.85, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.50–2.28), but was not associated with a significant difference in the likelihood of achieving ASD freedom (0.83, 95% CI: 0.49–1.39). Achieving an ASD-free period was associated with fewer hospital readmissions within the first year after surgery.

Significance: Patterns of antiseizure drug use and discontinuation after pediatric epilepsy surgery provide an unbiased surgical outcome endpoint extractable from administrative databases, where changes in seizure frequency are not captured. This quantitative measure can augment traditional surgical outcome scales, incorporating a significant clinical parameter associated with improved quality of life.