Background: In the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), knowledge of disease attributes and preferences that are important to patients is crucial. This knowledge may support drug development and optimization of COPD management strategies.
Objective: To assess patient preferences in COPD and to use the conjoint methodology in order to propose a self-assessment tool based on patients' preferences gained from this conjoint analysis. This tool might then be used in future observational study settings.
Methods: A two-step procedure was applied: an initial qualitative research module consisting of interviews with eight COPD patients served to assess COPD patients' health state in-depth, their attitudes towards COPD and their information sources regarding the disease, symptomatology, unmet needs, and their preferences for future COPD medications. In the main quantitative research part of the study, 300 patients (with an average age of 55 years) from across Germany suffering from COPD (n = 225 with stage II and n = 75 with stage III COPD) participated. Each participant was presented with 15 different scenarios during the conjoint exercise. Additionally, the Clinical COPD Questionnaire (CCQ) had to be completed and attitudes towards COPD were assessed.
Results: According to the participants, the three COPD attributes of the highest relative importance were dyspnea, performance capability, and sleep quality. Frequency of administration of the medication, onset of medication, and emotional state due to COPD base medication played only a minor role. COPD symptoms were reported to have the highest impact on quality of life, according to the CCQ.
Conclusions: Our study proposes an alternative utility-based approach of a self-reported health state concept, utilizing the fact that patients with moderate to severe COPD would trade, e.g., ease of administration and onset of medication for relief from dyspnea.