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Int J MS Care. 2015 Mar-Apr;17(2):74-82. doi: 10.7224/1537-2073.2013-053.

Patient preferences for attributes of multiple sclerosis disease-modifying therapies: development and results of a ratings-based conjoint analysis.

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Departments of Clinical Pharmacy (LSW, GG, LZ, CB, EM), Neurology (MO, DG, EW), and Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CEM), University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA; Kaiser Permanente Drug Information Services, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, CA, USA (AL); and Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA (DP).



Timely individualized treatment is essential to improving relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patient health outcomes, yet little is known about how patients make treatment decisions. We sought to evaluate RRMS patient preferences for risks and benefits of treatment.


Fifty patients with RRMS completed conjoint analysis surveys with 16 hypothetical disease-modifying therapy (DMT) medication profiles developed using a fractional factorial design. Medication profiles were assigned preference ratings from 0 (not acceptable) to 10 (most favorable). Medication attributes included a range of benefits, adverse effects, administration routes, and market durations. Analytical models used linear mixed-effects regression.


Participants showed the highest preference for medication profiles that would improve their symptoms (β = 0.81-1.03, P < .001), not a proven DMT outcome. Preventing relapses, the main clinical trial outcome, was not associated with significant preferences (P = .35). Each year of preventing magnetic resonance imaging changes and disease symptom progression showed DMT preferences of 0.17 point (β = 0.17, P = .002) and 0.12 point (β = 0.12, P < .001), respectively. Daily oral administration was preferred over all parenteral routes (P < .001). A 1% increase in death or severe disability decreased relative DMT preference by 1.15 points (P < .001).


Patient preference focused on symptoms and prevention of progression but not on relapse prevention, the proven drug outcome. Patients were willing to accept some level of serious risk for certain types and amounts of benefits, and they strongly preferred daily oral administration over all other options.

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