BACKGROUND: The current standard of care for multiple myeloma requires several regimens of treatment, with patients experiencing high symptom burden and side effects, which negatively impact health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Thus, it is crucial to understand patient perceptions of multiple myeloma and how patients value different treatment options.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to conduct an exploratory investigation into concepts that could form attributes that influence treatment choices for patients with multiple myeloma and to identify trade-offs that patients are willing to make between treatment attributes.
METHODS: In total, 30 patients with newly diagnosed or relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma from the UK, France, and Germany participated in semistructured interviews talking about their disease experience and symptoms, treatment benefits, treatment burden, perceived side effects, and benefit/risk trade-offs in treatment. The interview audio recordings were transcribed and analyzed using content analysis to identify treatment and disease aspects relevant to patients.
RESULTS: Symptoms of fatigue and bone pain and treatment side effects of peripheral neuropathy, diarrhea, and constipation were cited by patients as the most disruptive to their HRQoL. Treatment duration was reported most frequently as a major treatment burden, and patients emphasized the importance of increased life expectancy as a treatment benefit. All patients showed good understanding of benefit/risk trade-offs in treatment, and some patients expressed a preference for more convenient modes of treatment administration.
CONCLUSIONS: Qualitative interviews identified key aspects of multiple myeloma treatment that are most important to patients. These findings will inform a wider patient-preferences study, which could improve treatment choice and HRQoL for patients with multiple myeloma.