Assessment of health state utilities of controlled and uncontrolled psoriasis and atopic eczema: a population-based study

Br J Dermatol. 2008 Feb;158(2):351-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2007.08354.x. Epub 2007 Dec 6.


Background: Health utilities are used to express relevant trade-offs for resource allocation. The absence of valid and generalizable utilities for atopic eczema (AE) and psoriasis limits the validity of previous cost-utility analyses.

Objectives: (i) To assess health utilities of standardized scenarios of controlled and uncontrolled AE and psoriasis in participants from the general population and in patients using the time trade-off (TTO) method; (ii) to test the association of the utilities obtained with demographic and patient characteristics; and (iii) to compare these utilities with other health economic outcomes [utilities assessed on visual analogue scale (VAS), willingness to pay (WTP)].

Methods: A single-centre study conducted in 2006 at the Department of Dermatology, Dresden, Germany. Standardized interactive computer-assisted interviews in a random sample from the general population (n=139), and patients with AE (n=58) and psoriasis (n=62). Information on health states included characteristic clinical pictures and a short text explaining aetiology, signs, symptoms and quality of life impact.

Results: In participants from the general population median utilities (TTO) of controlled and uncontrolled AE were 0.97 and 0.64, respectively. For psoriasis the corresponding utilities were 0.93 and 0.56. Utilities were independent of sex and socioeconomic position, and tended to be lower in patients with psoriasis. Correlations between TTO, VAS and WTP responses were weak.

Conclusions: To avoid uncontrolled psoriasis or eczema participants chose an approximately 40% shorter life expectancy. This indicates that severe chronic inflammatory skin diseases may be considered as severe as angina pectoris, chronic anxiety, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or regional oesophageal cancer. The different economic outcomes assessed are not interchangeable.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / economics*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy
  • Economics
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / economics*
  • Psoriasis / therapy