STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to assess patients willingness to accept mortal risk in the drug treatment of chronic rheumatic disease. DESIGN--A non-random sample of consecutive patients were interviewed with a standardised survey instrument. SETTING--The study took place in the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath, UK. PATIENTS--100 consecutive in- and out-patients aged 65 or less were interviewed, 50 with rheumatoid arthritis and 50 with ankylosing spondylitis. Mean age was 48 years with mean disease duration of 14 years. The rheumatoid arthritis group was mainly female (84%), v 26% in the ankylosing spondylitis group. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--Risk preferences were elicited using the method of standard gamble in the context of a hypothetical new drug. Patients indicated the maximum percentage probability of mortality they regarded as acceptable to achieve four different levels of benefit: total cure (20.7%), relief of pain (16.9%), relief of stiffness (13.1%), return to normal functioning (14.5%). Rheumatoid arthritis patients displayed a higher (p less than 0.05) willingness to accept risk than ankylosing spondylitis patients for all gambles except relief of stiffness. Analysis of variance indicated that willingness to accept risk decreases with the duration of disease and increases with reductions in self assessed health status. CONCLUSIONS--Evaluative methods such as standard gamble can elicit useful risk-benefit preference data from patients to assist those who manage clinical risks.
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