Winnette R, Martin S, Harris N, Deal LS. Development of the alopecia areata patient priority outcomes instrument: a qualitative study. Dermatol Ther. 2021 Apr;11(2):599-613. doi: 10.1007/s13555-021-00508-w.

INTRODUCTION: Although alopecia areata (AA) profoundly impacts patients’ physical appearance, emotional state, and daily activities, no treatment approved for AA currently exists. Patient-reported outcome (PRO) instruments currently used to capture patients’ AA experiences do not meet the requirements to support claims of treatment benefit as described in the US Food and Drug Administration’s 2009 PRO guidance. Our objective was to explore the consequences and priority treatment outcomes among individuals with AA and develop a PRO measure consistent with regulatory requirements that assesses these priorities and represents clinical benefit from the AA patient perspective.

METHODS: Targeted literature and instrument reviews informed an initial concept set. Concept elicitation interviews with 20 adults with AA confirmed the relevance and importance of the initial concepts, identified additional relevant concepts, and informed an AA consequence model. Thematic analysis yielded a draft item pool, which was evaluated through two iterative rounds of cognitive debriefing interviews with 16 patients with AA (9 adults; 7 adolescents).

RESULTS: Hair loss was the primary consequence of importance to patients with AA. Patients emphasized the need to differentiate hair loss by location: scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, and body. Consequences of AA include difficulty conducting daily activities, particularly outdoor activities and exercise, and emotional impacts such as sadness, frustration, and negative self-image. Following cognitive debriefing interviews, 11 items were included to form the Alopecia Areata Patient Priority Outcome (AAPPO), assessing AA-related symptoms and impacts over the past week.

CONCLUSIONS: The AAPPO is a novel, content-valid PRO that captures the consequences of AA of the highest priority to patients.

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