Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate patient preferences for attributes associated with the efficacy and side-effects of treatment for osteoarthritis.
Methods: A stated preference design questionnaire was administered to a sample of 412 individuals diagnosed with osteoarthritis (OA).
Results: Statistically significant attributes in influencing treatment preferences were the level of joint aches, the level of physical mobility and the risk of experiencing serious side-effects from treatment. Respondents were relatively more concerned about the risk of serious side-effects (even with a very low probability) than mild to moderate side-effects (at a much higher probability). Data segmentation revealed some variations in preferences according to respondent characteristics. The importance of joint aches increased according to the severity of the symptoms of osteoarthritis, indicating that this attribute is more troublesome to those respondents with more severe symptoms. Older respondents were more willing than younger respondents to accept an increased risk of experiencing serious side-effects for an improvement in the symptoms of OA. Individuals in lower income brackets appeared to attach greater importance to joint aches and the level of mobility experienced than those in higher income brackets. Respondents who had previously experienced gastrointestinal side-effects from treatment were, as expected, more tolerant of them than those who had not.
Conclusion: The use of conjoint analysis to assess patient preferences provides a useful insight to the likely attitudes of patients to novel treatments for osteoarthritis.