Objectives: To calculate the fibromyalgia (FM) burden of illness (BOI) from the employer perspective and to compare annual prevalence, work output, absence, and health benefit costs of employees with FM versus osteoarthritis (OA).
Methods: Retrospective regression model analysis comparing objective work output, total health benefit (health care, prescription drug, sick leave, disability, workers' compensation) costs, and absence days for FM, versus OA and NoFM cohorts, while controlling for differences in patient characteristics.
Results: FM prevalence was 0.73%; OA 0.90%. Total health benefit costs for FM were $8452 versus $11,253 (P < 0.0001) for OA and $4013 (P < 0.0001) for NoFM, with BOI = $4439. Total absence days were 16.8 versus 19.8 (P < 0.0001) and 6.4 (P < 0.0001), respectively. FM had significantly lower annual work output than NoFM (19.5%, P = 0.003) but comparable with OA.
Conclusion: FM places a significant cost, absence, and productivity burden on employers.