Assessing patients’ descriptions of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and perspectives on treatment outcomes: results of qualitative research


  • Disclosures Karin Coyne and Chris Sexton are employees of United BioSource Corporation, who were paid scientific consultants to Pfizer in connection with the development of the manuscript. Christopher Chapple is a scientific consultant and researcher with Allergan, Astellas, Novartis, and Pfizer. Steven Kaplan is a consultant and lecturer with Pfizer. Zoe Kopp, Tara Symonds and Lalitha Padmanabhan Aiyer are employees of Pfizer. Additional editorial support was provided by Tracy Johnson and Janet E. Matsuura, PhD, at Complete Healthcare Communications, Inc., and was funded by Pfizer, Inc.

Karin Coyne, PhD, MPH, Senior Research Leader, Center for Health Outcomes Research, United BioSource Corporation, 7101 Wisconsin Ave, Suite 600, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA
Tel: (301) 654-9729
Fax: (301) 654-9864


Aims:  Understanding the patient’s experience and symptom descriptions is critical to assess outcomes. Thus, there is a need for qualitative research to better understand how patients describe their symptoms and treatment expectations.

Methods:  Eight focus groups were conducted in two research phases: Phase 1 focused on eliciting patient’s descriptions of urinary symptoms, and Phase 2 assessed patient perspectives on treatment outcomes. Participants with a range of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) were recruited from urology clinics and community settings in the United States. All interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. Content and descriptive analyses were performed.

Results:  A total of 33 men and 30 women participated. Mean ages for men and women were 55 and 61 in Phase 1, and 57 and 61 in Phase 2, respectively. About 73% of participants were white people, and most had a high school education or greater. A wide range of LUTS were emergently described, and the words, concepts and phrases were generally similar across groups. Most participants identified with the word ‘bother’, and thought it was important to assess both the frequency and bother of each symptom. Reasons for seeking care included symptom bother and fears about cancer and bladder infections. Most participants thought that a 50% improvement in a single symptom or group of symptoms would be a meaningful treatment outcome.

Conclusion:  This qualitative research provides a better understanding on how men and women describe their LUTS and their perspectives on treatment outcomes. This research can be used to inform the development of a new LUTS outcomes’ tool.