Abstract: Health care utilization in patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)

Schmerz. 2000 Apr 14;14(2):77-83.  [Article in German]  Muller A, Hartmann M, Eich W.  Abteilung Innere Medizin II, Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik, Universitat Heidelberg.

BACKGROUND: The purpose of the study was to examine the pain related health care utilization in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome.

METHODS: In a multicenter study six rheumatological hospitals associated in the rheumatological center of Heidelberg participated. All consecutive patients which fulfilled the ACR-criteria of fibromyalgia were assessed. Data about pain and related treatments were available from n=259 patients.

RESULTS: Patients suffered from chronic generalized pain on average for 5 years before being diagnosed as fibromyalgia. In most of the cases longlasting localized pain symptoms preceeded generalized pain. The spectrum of pain related treatments seems to be wide and arbitrary: 87% took questionable or excessive medication. 86% had some form of physiotherapy and 41% already experienced psychological treatment.  28% of the patients consulted dental surgeons including teeth extraction and 20% underwent multiple orthopaedic surgery. A mean of five different health care professionals were consulted regarding the pain problem. Treatment statisfaction rated by the patients was lowest with pharmacological and highest with psychological treatment and physiotherapy.

CONCLUSIONS: The health care-seeking behavior of fibromyalgia-patients seems to be characterized by a multitude of different treatment attempts. Treatment was often invasive and focused on localized symptoms rather than on the generalized pain syndrome. An early confirmation of the diagnosis and a more evidence based treatment is strongly indicated.

PMID: 12800043 [PubMed]

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