Narcolepsy treatment in Sweden: An observational study

Objectives

To describe the pharmacological treatments (2005–2017) and the healthcare utilization (1997–2016) for patients with narcolepsy in Sweden in order to create a framework for future organizational and economic analyses.

Material & Methods

Patients of all ages with a diagnosis of narcolepsy registered in the National Patient Registry in specialist care in Sweden were included and information on treatments for narcolepsy was retrieved from The Swedish Prescribed Drug Register.

Results

We collected 2508 patients with narcolepsy, 43,3% men and 56,7% women and 47,9% were prescribed modafenil, 33,8% metylphenidate and 26,2% amphetamine. In total, 3817 treatments were initiated. Patients treated with amphetamine had a higher mean age. More women than men used modafinil, methylphenidate, amphetamine and antidepressants. The narcolepsy population had more outpatient than inpatient healthcare. Patients treated with sodium oxybate had more outpatient visits than other narcolepsy patients, before and during treatment (p = .00).

Conclusions

This study gives valuable information on pharmaceutical treatments and healthcare utilization for patients with narcolepsy and can be used to estimate the healthcare cost in the future. Patients with sodium oxybate treatment had more outpatient visits than other patients before and during treatment which may be due to the need to monitor potentially severe side-effects or may indicate that patients with sodium oxybate treatment have a severe disease. The number of included patients was less than expected; however, this may depend on patients escaping our collection of data, which does not contain information from primary care.

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