Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common chronic inflammatory skin disorder affecting up to 10% of adults. The EQ-5D is the most commonly used generic preference-accompanied measure to generate quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) for economic evaluations.
We aimed to compare psychometric properties of the three-level and five-level EQ-5D (EQ-5D-3L and EQ-5D-5L) in adult patients with AD.
In a multicentre cross-sectional study, 218 AD patients with a broad range of severity completed the EQ-5D-3L, EQ-5D-5L, Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) and Skindex-16. Disease severity outcomes included the Investigator Global Assessment, Eczema Area and Severity Index and the objective SCORing Atopic Dermatitis.
A good agreement was established between the two EQ-5D versions with an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.815 (95% CI 0.758–0.859, p < 0.001). Overall, 33 different health state profiles occurred in the EQ-5D-3L and 84 in the EQ-5D-5L. Compared to the EQ-5D-3L, ceiling effect was reduced for the mobility, self-care, usual activities and pain/discomfort dimensions by 4.6–11.5%. EQ-5D-5L showed higher average relative informativity (Shannon’s evenness index: 0.64 vs. 0.59). EQ-5D-5L demonstrated better convergent validity with EQ VAS, DLQI and Skindex-16. The two measures were similar in distinguishing between groups of patients based on disease severity and skin-specific quality of life with a moderate or large effect size (η2 = 0.083–0.489).
Both instruments exhibited good psychometric properties in AD; however, the EQ-5D-5L was superior in terms of ceiling effects, informativity and convergent validity. We recommend the use of the EQ-5D-5L to measure health outcomes in clinical settings and for QALY calculations in AD.