Bleeding out the quality-adjusted life years: evaluating the burden of primary dysmenorrhea using time trade-off and willingness-to-pay methods

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Primary dysmenorrhea (PD), or painful menstruation in the absence of identified uterine pathology, affects 5 to 9 in every 10 reproductive-aged women. Despite its high prevalence, just a few studies with very small patient numbers have focused on health-related quality of life impairment in PD. We aimed to assess health-related quality of life values for a severe and a mild hypothetical PD health state using 10-year time trade-off and willingness-to-pay methods. In 2015, a nationwide convenience sample of women, aged between 18 and 40 years, was recruited using an Internet-based cross-sectional survey in Hungary. Respondents with a known history of secondary dysmenorrhea were excluded. Data on 1836 and 160 women, with and without a history of PD, respectively, were analysed. Mean utility values for the severe and mild health states were 0.85 (median 0.95) and 0.94 (median 1), respectively. Participants were willing to pay a mean of €1127 (median €161) and €142 (median €16) for a complete cure from the severe and mild PD health states. Compared with the non-PD group, women with PD valued both health states worse according to willingness to pay (P < 0.05) but similar in the time trade-off. It seems that PD substantially contributes to the quality-adjusted life year loss in this age group, which is comparable with losses from chronic diseases such as type 1 diabetes, asthma, atopic eczema, or chronic migraine. Our findings provide a useful input to cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analyses of PD treatments.

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