The relation of patient satisfaction with treatment of otitis externa to clinical outcomes: Development of an instrument

Richard Shikiar, Michael T. Halpern, Mary McGann, Cynthia S. Palmer, Mindell Seidlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This survey was undertaken to develop a short, comprehensive measure of patient satisfaction with pharmacologic treatment for otitis externa and to assess the relationships between satisfaction, disease symptoms, and medication side effects. Otitis externa was diagnosed in 41 patients recruited from 6 sites; 34 patients completed and returned the study instruments and were included in the study. Patients or their caregivers administered polymyxin/neomycin/hydrocortisone ear drops prescribed by a physician and completed a daily diary for 10 days and a satisfaction questionnaire at the end of the treatment period. The main outcome measures were the subscale scores for patient satisfaction and their relation to medication side effects, symptoms of ear infection, activity limitations, pain, and adherence to prescription regimens. The questionnaire and its subscales demonstrated good psychometric properties (ie, reliability coefficients >0.75, except for 1 subscale). Overall satisfaction was found to be significantly correlated with relief of symptoms, ability to return to normal activities, ease of administration, and medication side effects. Satisfaction subscale scores were correlated with patient-reported severity of medication side effects and disease symptoms. More than half the patients took drops for more than the prescribed number of days, and one third took more than the prescribed number of drops per administration (ie, overadherence). The relation between satisfaction and adherence was weak, perhaps due to the high rates of overadherence. Our results demonstrate that patient satisfaction with otic medication can be assessed across various aspects of satisfaction and that it is correlated with reported disease symptoms and medication side effects. This type of multifaceted assessment may help physicians select between medications with different side-effect profiles and administration schedules. Larger studies are needed to evaluate the relationship between satisfaction with an otic medication and adherence to a medication regimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1091-1104
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Therapeutics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Adherence
  • Clinical outcomes
  • Drug therapy
  • Otitis externa
  • Satisfaction
  • Self- report

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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