December 16, 2019

Socioeconomic Outcome and Access to Care in Adults with Epilepsy in Sweden: A Nationwide Cohort Study

Since epilepsy has well-documented relationships with low income and low education levels, however, the impact of a patient’s socioeconomic standing (SES) on the impacts of epilepsy have been less analyzed, experts aspired to explore whether SES was connected with more severe epilepsy or limited access to care in Sweden, where healthcare is universal, and whether socioeconomic results (employment and income) varied for persons with epilepsy (PWE) with different levels of educational attainment.

Participants in the study were all adult individuals with an epilepsy diagnosis in the Swedish patient register in 2000-2015 (n = 126,406) and controls (n = 379,131) matched for age, gender, and place of birth.

According to this register-based cross-sectional study, somatic and psychiatric comorbidities were more prevalent in PWE compared with lower levels of education and income. Hospitalizations in people with lower income or education were more common among PWE. It was more common in high-income and high-education groups to have at least one prescription issued by a neurologist in the study period. Even in a country with universal healthcare, both the severity and consequences of epilepsy were higher in persons of low SES. This indicates that universal access may not be enough to mitigate epileptic socio-economic inequity.

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