Objectives: Biomarkers, endoscopy and imaging tests can identify patients at increased risk for early recurrence of symptomatic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, patients may be unwilling to accept additional medical therapy risks related to therapy escalation to avoid a future disease relapse. We sought to quantify IBD patients' willingness to accept medication risk to avoid future disease relapse.
Methods: We conducted a discrete-choice experiment among 202 patients with IBD who were offered choices of therapies with varying risks of lymphoma and infection, and varying time to next IBD relapse. Random parameters logit was used to estimate patients' willingness to accept tradeoffs among treatment features in selecting medication therapy to avoid future disease relapse.
Results: To avoid a disease relapse over the next 5 years, IBD patients were willing to accept an average of a 28% chance of a serious infection; and an average of 1.8% chance of developing lymphoma. These results did not significantly change when patients were offered 10 years until their next disease relapse, but were lower (11 and 0.7%, respectively) when offered 1.5 years until the next disease relapse. Patients with active disease symptoms were significantly less willing to accept medication risk for time in remission.
Conclusions: IBD patients are willing to accept high levels of lymphoma and serious infection risk to maintain disease remission. These preferences are congruent with the treatment paradigms emphasizing mucosal healing and early aggressive therapy and highlight patients' strong preferences for therapies resulting in durable remission of at least 5 years.