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Keywords:

  • Fibromyalgia;
  • comorbidity;
  • disease burden;
  • treatment patterns;
  • pregabalin;
  • gabapentin

Abstract

Objective:  To characterize comorbidities, pain-related pharmacotherapy, and healthcare resource use among patients with fibromyalgia (FM) newly prescribed pregabalin or gabapentin in clinical practice.

Methods and design:  Using the PharMetrics® Database, FM patients (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification code 729.1X) newly prescribed pregabalin (n = 1,606; mean age 49.9 ± 9.6 years; 87.9% female) and gabapentin (n = 930; mean age 49.5 ± 9.6 years; 86.6% female) on/after July 1, 2007 were identified. Prevalence of comorbidities, pharmacotherapy, and healthcare resource use/costs (pharmacy, outpatient, inpatient, total) were examined during the 6 months preceding (preindex) and following (postindex) the date of their first pregabalin or gabapentin (index) prescription.

Results:  Patients in both cohorts had a variety of comorbidities and used multiple medications. There were significant decreases (P values < 0.05) in the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (32.1% vs. 29.5%), anticonvulsants (27.0% vs. 22.0%), and combination therapies in the pregabalin cohort in the postindex period. There were significant increases (all P values < 0.05) in use of short-acting opioids (58.8% vs. 63.7%), any opioids (61.5% vs. 65.6%), serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (22.5% vs. 24.5%), anticonvulsants (16.3% vs. 26.2%), benzodiazepines (33.2% vs. 36.6%), topical agents (6.6% vs. 9.0%), and combination therapies in the gabapentin cohort. Although there were no changes in units of healthcare resources used, there were increases in the postindex period in hospitalization, medications, and total costs for pregabalin, and office visits and medication costs for gabapentin (all P values < 0.05).

Conclusions:  Results suggest a high comorbidity and medication use burden in FM patients in this study. Further evaluation is warranted to clarify differences in resource utilization/costs observed with these two anticonvulsants.