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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31815cff4b
Original Articles

Employees With Fibromyalgia: Medical Comorbidity, Healthcare Costs, and Work Loss

White, Leigh Ann PhD; Birnbaum, Howard G. PhD; Kaltenboeck, Anna MA; Tang, Jackson BS; Mallett, David MA; Robinson, Rebecca L. MS

Continued Medical Education
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Objectives: To compare 2005 health care resources among matched samples of employees with fibromyalgia (FM), osteoarthritis (OA), and controls.

Methods: Using a claims database of privately insured individuals, FM and OA samples were derived from those with two or more disease-specific claims in 1999 to 2005 (≥1 in 2002 to 2005).

Results: Total costs for employees with FM ($10,199) approached OA costs ($10,861, P = 0.3758) and were significantly higher than controls ($5274, P < 0.0001). Cost components varied across disease-specific samples (direct medical: FM $7286 vs OA $8325, P < 0.0287; pharmacy: FM $1630 vs OA $1341; indirect: FM $2913 vs OA $2537, P < 0.0001). Employees with FM had more claims than OA for psychiatric diagnoses, chronic fatigue, and most pain conditions. Use of multiple prescription drug classes was common in both samples.

Conclusions: FM imposes significant economic burden. Work loss contributes substantially to the impact.

©2008The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine


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