Objective: To estimate direct health care costs associated with fibromyalgia (FM) within a representative community sample.
Methods: A random sample of 3395 noninstitutionalized adults was screened for widespread pain. Individuals screening positive were examined for FM. Direct health care costs were compared among those with confirmed FM (FM cases, FC), those with widespread pain not having FM (pain controls, PC), controls without widespread pain (general controls, GC), and a random sample of age, sex and geographically matched controls from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan database (OHIP controls, OC).
Results: One hundred FC (86 women) were compared to 76 PC subjects, 135 GC, and 380 OC. FC used more medications and outpatient health services than PC subjects, and about twice the health services at twice the cost compared to GC and OC. The mean difference in direct costs for health services between FC and OC was $493 Cdn annually (p<0.001).
Conclusion: FM has a major effect on direct health care costs.