A research study was done to examine the characteristics and healthcare costs of Fibromyalgia patients in clinical practice.
For the research, a US health insurance database was used and all patients identified for this research were over the age of, or at least 18 with any healthcare incidences of Fibromyalgia, using the ICD-9 CM Diagnosis Code 729.1. Records were studied for a three year period beginning July 1, 2002 – June 30, 2005.
A comparison group was then constituted, consisting of randomly selected patients without any healthcare encounters for Fibromyalgia during this 3-year period. Comparison group patients were matched to Fibromyalgia patients based on age and sex. Characteristics and healthcare costs of Fibromyalgia patients and comparison group patients were then examined over the 1-year period, 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005 (the most recent year for which data were available at the time of the study).
Results: The study sample consisted of 33,176 FMS patients and an identical number in the comparison group. Mean age was 46 years, and 75% were women.
– FMS patients were more likely to have various comorbidities, including painful neuropathies (23% vs. 3% for comparison group), anxiety (5% vs. 1%), and depression (12% vs. 3%) (all p < 0.001);
– They also were more likely to have used pain-related pharmacotherapy (65% vs. 34% for comparison group; p < 0.001).
– Mean (SD) total healthcare costs over 12 months were about three times higher among FMS patients [$9,573 ($20,135) vs. $3,291 ($13,643); p < 0.001]; [the mean is the point at which half of a group of values are lower, half higher]
– Median [average] costs were fivefold higher ($4,247 vs. $822; p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Patients with FMS have comparatively high levels of comorbidities and high levels of healthcare utilization and cost.