[Estimation of benefits and risks of the treatment of rheumatoid polyarthritis with glucocorticoids using the health-related quality of life measurements].
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The purpose of this study was to use the utility approach to evaluate the risks and benefits of corticosteroid therapy in rheumatoid arthritis patients. The utility approach provides us with a quantitative measure of the value or preference a patient attaches to his overall health status defined on a scale from perfect health (1) to death (0). Benefits and toxicity are combined into a number reflecting the patients combined assessment of the benefits of treatment and the side-effects associated with it. Utility of 3 scenarios (rheumatoid arthritis patients treated respectively with no, 5 mg/day and 15 mg/day of prednisone) were determined through the time trade-off (TTO) and thermometer scale (TS) techniques. Twenty-five rheumatoid arthritis patients selected at random among subjects attending an outpatient clinic and 25 rheumatologists were interviewed using visual aids. Treatment with 15 mg/d prednisone was assigned the highest utilities by both patients and physicians. Coefficients of correlation between thermometer scale and time trade-off utilities were 0.675 (p < 0.01) for physician-assigned utilities and 0.518 (p < 0.05) for patient-assigned utilities. Medical decisions concerning rheumatoid arthritis patients should take into account the preferences of patients and physicians.
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