BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to develop a menopause-specific, preference-based healthrelated\ud quality-of-life (HRQoL) index reflecting both menopausal symptoms and potential sideeffects\ud of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).\ud \ud \ud METHODS: The study had three phases: the development of a health state classification, a\ud prospective valuation survey and the estimation of a model to interpolate HRQoL indices for all\ud remaining health states as defined by the classification. A menopausal health state classification was\ud developed with seven dimensions: hot flushes, aching joints/muscles, anxious/frightened feelings,\ud breast tenderness, bleeding, vaginal dryness and undesirable androgenic signs. Each dimension\ud contains between three and five levels and defines a total of 6,075 health states. A sample of 96\ud health states was selected for the valuation survey. These states were valued by a sample of 229\ud women aged 45 to 60, randomly selected from 6 general practice lists in Sheffield, UK. Respondents\ud were asked to complete a time trade-off (TTO) task for nine health states, resulting in an average\ud of 16.5 values for each health state.\ud \ud \ud RESULTS: Mean health states valued range from 0.48 to 0.98 (where 1.0 is full health and zero is for\ud states regarded as equivalent to death). Symptoms, as described by the classification system, can be\ud rank-ordered in terms of their impact (from high to low) on menopausal HRQoL as follows: aching\ud joints and muscles, bleeding, breast tenderness, anxious or frightened feelings, vaginal dryness,\ud androgenic signs. Hot flushes did not significantly contribute to model fit. The preferred model\ud produced a mean absolute error of 0.053, but suffered from bias at both ends of the scale.\ud \ud \ud CONCLUSION: This article presents an attempt to directly value a condition specific health state\ud classification. The overall fit was disappointing, but the results demonstrate that menopausal symptoms are perceived by patients to have a significant impact on utility. The overall effect is modest compared to the more generic health state descriptions such as the EQ-5D. The resultant\ud algorithm generates a preference-based index that can be used economic evaluation and that reflects the impact of this condition
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