How much are patients willing to pay to avoid postoperative muscle pain associated with succinylcholine?
STUDY OBJECTIVE: To determine how much money patients are willing to pay to avoid postoperative muscle pains associated with succinylcholine. DESIGN: Observational study with survey instrument. SETTING: University-affiliated metropolitan hospital. PATIENTS: Eighty-eight adult patients, 43 men and 45 women, who were scheduled to undergo surgery with general anesthesia and who completed a preoperative questionnaire (median age range, 41-50 y; median income, US$45,000-60,000). INTERVENTIONS AND MEASUREMENTS: Patients completed a computerized, interactive questionnaire preoperatively. They were asked about demographics and previous experiences with muscle pain and postoperative myalgia. With the use of the willingness-to-pay model, the value that they would be willing to pay for a hypothetical muscle relaxant that avoided postoperative myalgia was determined. MAIN RESULTS: Eighty-nine percent of patients considered avoiding postoperative myalgia as important. Patients were willing to pay a median (interquartile range) of $33 ($19-$50) out of pocket for a muscle relaxant that was not associated with postoperative myalgia, a figure that increased to $40 if the insurance company paid for the drug (P < 0.0001). Willingness to pay was influenced by patients' income but not by prior experience with postoperative myalgia. CONCLUSION: Patients consider avoidance of postoperative myalgia important and are willing to pay $33 out of pocket for a muscle relaxant that is not associated with this side effect.
Allen, TK; Habib, AS; Dear, GL; White, W; Lubarsky, DA; Gan, TJ
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