Disutility represents the decrement in utility (valued quality of life) due to a particular symptom or complication. Disutility values are often expressed as a negative value, to represent the impact of the symptom or disease. They may be derived by subtracting utility values for a health state which includes the component (symptom, complication) of interest from a health state that is identical except for the absence of that component. Disutilities may be combined (usually additively, although occasionally multiplicative combinations are used) to provide a combined value of their collective impact on a patient’s quality of life. However, as with utilities, this needs to be done with care as there are situations where disutility (A+B) ≠ (disutility (A) + disutility (B)) when the individual and combined health states are valued independently.


How to cite: Disutility [online]. (2016). York; York Health Economics Consortium; 2016. https://yhec.co.uk/glossary/disutility/


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