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Fibromyalgia 10 Years Later: Medical Community Still Puzzled

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Despite the continuing controversy, fibromyalgia may receive more attention in the future, because the costs of caring for people who have it can be substantial. Studies have shown that patients average 10 outpatient visits per year and sometimes use several drugs in an attempt to reduce symptoms. One 1996 study found that the mean yearly per-patient cost was $2,274.

Even with good medical care, fibromyalgia studies have shown that most patients experience little improvement in their overall condition or symptoms. Nonetheless, Goldberg says, patients with the syndrome find it reassuring to obtain "a diagnostic label," and just making the diagnosis leads to decreased use of costly testing and health care services. 

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