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A Study on Fibromyalgia from the Mayo Clinic

Posted Jun 09 2011 12:30pm


Following is an abstract from a published scientific article regarding medical costs associated with fibromyalgia and the impact of a brief multidisciplinary treatment program. The four year medical cost statistics of fibromyalgia compared to control patients in the study group are staggering. The total four-year medical costs for controls in the study were $7774 compared with $15,759 for those with fibromyalgia. Part of the study’s hypothesis included comparing medical costs over a four year period after administration of a cognitive behavior therapy program. The outcome of the study demonstrated that the increased cost in fibromyalgia medical care is related to the severity of symptoms and was not impacted by participation in a brief cognitive behavior therapy program.

STUDY: Direct medical costs in patients with fibromyalgia: Cost of illness and impact of a brief multidisciplinary treatment program.

The patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia incur about twice as much direct medical costs than that of non fibromyalgia patients, according to the results of a 4-year study by the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. The study was published in the January 2011 issue of the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

The objective of the study was 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. The study compared 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.

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