The aim of the study was to carry out a survey in patients with fibromyalgia (FM), to examine their general health status and work incapacity (disability-pension status), and their views on the effectiveness of therapy received, over a two-year observation period.
48 patients diagnosed with FM, according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria, took part in the study. At baseline, and on average two years later, the patients underwent clinical investigation (dolorimetry, laboratory diagnostics, medical history taking) and completed the Fibromyalgia questionnaire (Dettmer and Chrostek ).
27/48 (56%) patients participated in the two-year follow-up. In general, the patients showed no improvement in their symptoms over the observation period, regardless of the type of therapy they had received. General satisfaction with quality of life improved, as did satisfaction regarding health status and the family situation, although the degree of pain experienced remain unchanged. In comparison with the initial examination, there was no change in either work-capacity or disability-pension status.
The FM patients showed no improvement in pain, despite the many various treatments received over the two-year period. The increase in general satisfaction over the observation period was believed to be the result of patient instruction and education about the disease. To what extent a population of patients with FM would show similar outcomes if they did not receive any instruction/education about their disorder, cannot be ascertained from the present study; and, indeed, the undertaking of a study to investigate this would be ethically questionable. As present, no conclusions can be made regarding the influence of therapy on the primary and secondary costs associated with FM.