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Estimating the burden of disease in chronic pain with and without neuropathic characteristics: does the choice between the EQ-5D and SF-6D matter?

Torrance, Nicola; Lawson, Kenny D.; Afolabi, Ebenezer; Bennett, Michael I.; Serpell, Michael G.; Dunn, Kate M.; Smith, Blair H.


Nicola Torrance

Kenny D. Lawson

Ebenezer Afolabi

Michael I. Bennett

Michael G. Serpell

Kate M. Dunn

Blair H. Smith


Chronic pain with neuropathic characteristics is associated with significantly lower EQ-5D and Short Form 6D health utilities scores, with 17% reporting health states 'worse than death'. The EQ-5D and Short Form (SF)12 are widely used generic health-related quality of life (HRQoL) questionnaires. They can be used to derive health utility index scores, on a scale where 0 is equivalent to death and 1 represents full health, with scores less than zero representing states 'worse than death.' We compared EQ-5D or SF-6D health utility index scores in patients with no chronic pain, and chronic pain with and without neuropathic characteristics (NC), and to explore their discriminant ability for pain severity. Self-reported health and chronic pain status was collected as part of a UK general population survey (n = 4451). We found moderate agreement between individual dimensions of EQ-5D and SF-6D, with most highly correlated dimensions found for mental health and anxiety/depression, role limitations and usual activities, and pain and pain/discomfort. Overall 43% reported full health on the EQ-5D, compared with only 4.2% on the SF-6D. There were significant differences in mean utilities for chronic pain with NC (EQ-5D 0.47 vs SF-6D 0.62) and especially for severe pain (EQ-5D 0.33 vs SF-6D 0.58). On the EQ-5D, 17% of those with chronic pain with NC and 3% without NC scored 'worse than death,' a state which is not possible using the SF-6D. Health utilities derived from EQ-5D and SF-12/36 can discriminate between group differences for chronic pain with and without NC and greater pain severity. However, the instruments generate widely differing HRQoL scores for the same patient groups. The choice between using the EQ-5D or SF-6D matters greatly when estimating the burden of disease.


TORRANCE, N., LAWSON, K.D., AFOLABI, E., BENNETT, M.I., SERPELL, M.G., DUNN, K.M. and SMITH, B.H. 2014. Estimating the burden of disease in chronic pain with and without neuropathic characteristics: does the choice between the EQ-5D and SF-6D matter? Pain [online], 155(10), pages 1996-2004. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 3, 2014
Online Publication Date Oct 31, 2014
Publication Date Oct 31, 2014
Deposit Date Feb 6, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 6, 2020
Journal Pain
Print ISSN 0304-3959
Electronic ISSN 1872-6623
Publisher Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 155
Issue 10
Pages 1996-2004
Keywords Chronic pain; EQ-5D; Health-related quality of life; Health utilities; Neuropathic pain; SF-6D; S-LANSS
Public URL


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