Epilepsy Medical Services Costly

Epilepsy Medical Services CostlyEpilepsy Medical Services Costly

The costs of diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy are huge and unaffordable for many patients in Iran, especially those who are resistant to medicine. 

Epilepsy is a group of neurological diseases characterized by recurrent epileptic seizures. The episodes of seizures can vary from brief and nearly undetectable to long periods of vigorous shaking. They can be controllable with anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) in about 70% of cases. 

However, approximately one third of people with epilepsy are resistant to AEDs, which means they do not respond to drug treatment and continue to experience seizures. These patients either have to use combination drugs or undergo surgery. 

According to the deputy head of the Iranian Epilepsy Association, an accurate diagnosis of the disorder requires an Electroencephalogram test (EEG) for three to five consecutive days. 

“The test normally costs between 100 and 150 million rials ($2,600 and $3,900) which most insurance companies refuse to cover,” said Parviz Bahrami, at a press conference on the occasion of the International Epilepsy Day (Feb. 13), Mehr News Agency reported. 

Surgery costs have been estimated at 200 to 300 million rials ($5,200 to $7,900) which is prohibitive for many patients, not to mention the cost of drugs that have to be taken afterwards.  

Bahrami stressed that drug-resistant patients must receive special attention and provided insurance coverage. 

“Many patients stop using drugs after one round of treatment due to their high costs and again relapse and suffer from intense attacks that may occasionally be fatal,” he said. 

Global studies suggest that between 0.5% and 1% in each community suffer from epilepsy. It is therefore estimated that there are around 840,000 people with the disorder in Iran. 

Concussion, accidents and abuse of drugs, especially industrial types, are among the major causes of epilepsy, said Bahrami. 

“Currently, surgical services for drug resistant patients are available in Isfahan and Tehran,” he added. 

International Epilepsy Day, a joint initiative of the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) and the International League against Epilepsy (ILAE), is a global event held annually on February 13, to promote awareness on epilepsy around the world. 

With IBE and ILAE representation in more than 120 countries, the event offers the opportunity to highlight the problems faced by people with epilepsy, their families and care givers.

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