The relationship between risk attitude and treatment choice in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis

Med Decis Making. 2002 Nov-Dec;22(6):506-13. doi: 10.1177/0272989X02238299.


Background: Many patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) eligible for beta-interferons or glatiramer acetate have chosen to forgo or discontinue treatment The objective of this study was to evaluate risk attitude as a patient characteristic related to treatment choice for patients with MS.

Methods: Sixty-two MS patients completed a survey on treatment history, risk preference, and socioeconomic and clinical variables. Multinomial logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between treatment choice and risk attitude. Risk attitude was measured using a standard gamble question on short-term health outcomes.

Results: More risk-seeking patients were less likely to choose treatment compared with more risk-averse patients (P < 0.01). Forpatients who discontinued treatment, the explanatory variable of significance was severity of side effects (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Risk attitude is a patient characteristic related to treatment initiation in patients with MS. This could be an important factor to consider when identifying optimal treatment decisions for individual patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Glatiramer Acetate
  • Humans
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / psychology
  • Peptides / therapeutic use
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk-Taking*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Peptides
  • Glatiramer Acetate
  • Interferon-beta