Study of Fibromyalgia Healthcare Costs May Lead to Better Patient Management

Study of Fibromyalgia Healthcare Costs May Lead to Better Patient Management
A large part of healthcare costs for fibromyalgia patients consists of physician visits and medications, and factors such as the simultaneous presence of other diseases contribute to increased costs. Identifying patients with high resource needs may guide researchers and clinicians in the establishment of strategies that can improve patient outcomes and help reduce healthcare costs. The study, "Evaluating increased resource use in fibromyalgia using electronic health records," was performed by Truven Health Analytics and Pfizer, and published in the journal ClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research. Researchers used retrospective data from an electronic health records database to better understand drivers of healthcare costs. The database held information on 64,038 eligible fibromyalgia patients, of whom 81.4 percent were women and 87.7 percent were of European descent. Nearly all the patients, 91.6 percent, had costs linked to medication, and 87.5 percent had visited doctors. In addition, 50.3 percent had “other outpatient visits,” and 25.3 percent had lab tests done. Contributors to healthcare costs used by far fewer patients were inpatient admissions, radiology treatments, and physical therapy. Looking specifically at the types of medication used, opioids were the most common group, used by 44.3 percent of patients. Importantly, researchers noted that 82.4 percent of patients taking opioids had prescriptions that were not within fibromyalgia guidelines. Non-steroid ant
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