Background: Patient-reported side effect questionnaires offer a simple method for the systematic measurement of drug-related side effects. In order to measure patients' inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) related side effect perceptions the 14-day retrospective Inhaled Corticosteroid Questionnaire (ICQ) was developed. In this research we aim to assess the construct validity and reliability of the ICQ and test its responsiveness to dose changes in adult asthma patients.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study, current inhaler users with asthma completed the ICQ (27 with non ICS inhaler; 61 BDP equivalent daily ICS low dose < or =400 microg; 62 mid dose 401-800 microg; and 105 with high dose >800 microg). We generated 3 construct validity hypotheses: 1) a hierarchical dose-response pattern for scoring of the individual items on the ICQ, and statistically significant differences in the scores of each of the 15 ICQ domains by ICS dose group 2) an association between ICS dose and ICQ scoring after adjusting for appropriate confounders in multiple regression; 3) greater convergence between local side effect domains than between systemic and local domains of the scale. Test-retest reliability was assessed on a randomly selected subgroup of patients (n = 73) who also completed the ICQ a second time after 7 days. In a separate longitudinal study, 61 patients with asthma completed the ICQ at baseline and after changing their daily ICS dose, at 2- and 6- months, in order to test the ICQ's responsiveness.
Results: All three construct validity hypotheses were well supported: 1) a statistically significant difference existed in scores for 14 domains, the high ICS dose group scoring highest; 2) ICS dose independently predicted ICQ scoring after adjusting for confounders; 3) greater convergence existed between local ICQ domains than between local and systemic domains. The ICQ had good reproducibility: test-retest intraclass correlation coefficients were > or =0.69 for all but the 'Facial Oedema' domain. In the longitudinal study, ICQ scores for 'Voice Problems' changed significantly at 2- and 6-months from baseline and other ICQ domains displayed trends in scoring change accordant with dose modulation at 6-months.
Conclusion: The ICQ has good dose-related discriminative properties, is valid, reliable, and shows potential responsiveness to ICS dose change.