Long-term clinical outcomes and economic evaluation of the ketogenic diet versus care as usual in children and adolescents with intractable epilepsy

Ben F. M. Wijnen*, Reina J. A. de Kinderen, Danielle A. J. E. Lambrechts, Debby Postulart, Albert P. Aldenkamp, Marian H. J. M. Majoie, Silvia M. A. A. Evers

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective: To examine long-term retention rate, clinical outcomes, cost-utility and cost-effectiveness of the Ketogenic Diet (KD) compared with care as usual (CAU) in children and adolescents with intractable epilepsy from a societal perspective.

Methods: Participants were randomized into a KD or CAU group. Seizure frequency, quality adjusted life years (QALYs), side-effects, seizure severity, health care costs, production losses, patient and family costs were assessed at baseline and during 16-months of follow-up. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) (i.e. cost per QALY and cost per responder) and cost-effectiveness acceptability curves are presented.

Results: 48 children were included in the analyses of this study (26 from KD group). In total, 58% of the KD group completed the follow-up of 16 months; 11 dropped-out for various reasons. At 16 months, 35% of the KD participants had a seizure reduction >= 50% from baseline, compared with 18% of the CAU participants. Mean costs per patient in the CAU group were 53,367 (extrapolated) compared to 61,019 per patient in the KD group, resulting in an ICER of 46,564 per responder. Cost per QALY rose well above any acceptable ceiling ratio. At 4-months' follow-up, the KD group showed significantly more gastrointestinal problems compared to the CAU group. At 16 months, the KID group reported fewer problems compared to CAU. Furthermore, 46.2% of the KD group reported a decrease in severity of their worst seizure compared to 32% of the CAU group.

Conclusion: The KID group resulted in more responders and showed greater improvement on seizure severity. Furthermore, the KD did not lead to worsening of side-effects other than gastro-intestinal problems (only at 4 months' follow-up). However, as only a minimal difference in QALYs was found between the KD group and the CAU group, the resulting cost per QALY ratios were inconclusive. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-99
Number of pages9
JournalEpilepsy Research
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • Epilepsy
  • Intractable epilepsy
  • Economic evaluations
  • Ketogenic diet
  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • COST

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