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Direct Medical Costs in Patients with Fibromyalgia

Cost of Illness and Impact of a Brief Multidisciplinary Treatment Program

Thompson, Jeffrey M, MD; Luedtke, Connie A, MA, RN, BC; Oh, Terry H, MD; Shah, Nilay D, PhD; Long, Kirsten Hall, PhD; King, Susan, RN; Branda, Megan, MS; Swanson, Randy, BS

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: January 2011 - Volume 90 - Issue 1 - p 40-46
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3181fc7ff3
Original Research Articles: Fibromyalgia

Objective: To compare the direct medical costs of clinically diagnosed patients with fibromyalgia with the medical costs of matched controls during a 4-yr period and to assess the impact of a fibromyalgia treatment program on healthcare utilization and associated medical costs.

Design: A retrospective comparison of economic outcomes in 87 patients who participated in a fibromyalgia treatment program between 2001 and 2004 and who were local residents for the entire 4-yr period spanning their participation in the program, with age and sex-matched controls. Costs for the 2 yrs before and 2 yrs after program participation were also compared.

Results: Four-year medical costs for controls were $7774 compared with $15,759 for those with fibromyalgia. There was no significant change in direct costs after participation in a brief fibromyalgia treatment program. Those with increased symptom severity averaged $2034 higher direct medical costs during the 4-yr period.

Conclusions: Patients with clinically diagnosed fibromyalgia incur direct medical costs about twice that of their matched controls. This increased cost is related to the severity of their symptoms as measured by the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire and was not impacted by participation in a brief cognitive behaviorally based fibromyalgia treatment program.

From the Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (JMT, THO); Department of Nursing (CAL); Health Services Research (NDS); Division of Health Care Policy and Research (NDS, MB, RS); and Fibromyalgia Treatment Program and Pain Rehabilitation Program (SK), Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota.

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Jeffrey M. Thompson, MD, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905.

Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.