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Pain. 2014 Oct;155(10):1996-2004. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2014.07.001. Epub 2014 Jul 11.

Estimating the burden of disease in chronic pain with and without neuropathic characteristics: does the choice between the EQ-5D and SF-6D matter?

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Medical Research Institute, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, UK. Electronic address:
Centre for Research Excellence in the Prevention of Chronic Conditions in Rural and Remote Populations, James Cook University, Townsville City, Australia.
Research Institute for Primary Care & Health Sciences, Keele University, Staffordshire, England, UK.
Academic Unit of Palliative Care, University of Leeds, Leeds, England, UK.
School of Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
Medical Research Institute, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, UK.


The EQ-5D and Short Form (SF)12 are widely used generic health-related quality of life (HRQoL) questionnaires. They can be used to derive health utility index scores, on a scale where 0 is equivalent to death and 1 represents full health, with scores less than zero representing states "worse than death." We compared EQ-5D or SF-6D health utility index scores in patients with no chronic pain, and chronic pain with and without neuropathic characteristics (NC), and to explore their discriminant ability for pain severity. Self-reported health and chronic pain status was collected as part of a UK general population survey (n=4451). We found moderate agreement between individual dimensions of EQ-5D and SF-6D, with most highly correlated dimensions found for mental health and anxiety/depression, role limitations and usual activities, and pain and pain/discomfort. Overall 43% reported full health on the EQ-5D, compared with only 4.2% on the SF-6D. There were significant differences in mean utilities for chronic pain with NC (EQ-5D 0.47 vs SF-6D 0.62) and especially for severe pain (EQ-5D 0.33 vs SF-6D 0.58). On the EQ-5D, 17% of those with chronic pain with NC and 3% without NC scored "worse than death," a state which is not possible using the SF-6D. Health utilities derived from EQ-5D and SF-12/36 can discriminate between group differences for chronic pain with and without NC and greater pain severity. However, the instruments generate widely differing HRQoL scores for the same patient groups. The choice between using the EQ-5D or SF-6D matters greatly when estimating the burden of disease.


Chronic pain; EQ-5D; Health utilities; Health-related quality of life; Neuropathic pain; S-LANSS; SF-6D

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