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The use of PRIME-MD questionnaire in a rheumatology clinic

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Objective: To determine whether the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders 1-page Brief Patient Health Questionnaire (PRIME-MD 1-page PHQ) can serve as: (1) a diagnostic test for fibromyalgia syndrome (FM), or (2) a questionnaire through which internists can be alerted to otherwise hidden mental disorders in patients attending internal medicine clinics. Method: Two hundred and thirteen consecutive patients attending a rheumatology clinic were given the PRIME-MD 1-page PHQ and seen by a rheumatologist who was blind to the PRIME-MD diagnosis. Results: The PRIME-MD 1-page PHQ pointed to Major Depressive Disorder in 33.3% of FM patients, Other Depressive Disorder in 33.3% of FM patients, and Panic Disorder in 22.2% of FM patients (all of whom also had Major Depressive Disorder), as compared to 13.1, 13.1, and 3.0% respectively in patients with other rheumatic disorders. However, when used as a diagnostic test for FM, the PRIME-MD 1-page PHQ did not have adequate diagnostic value. When all the PRIME-MD 1-page PHQ diagnoses were compiled, however, a trend was observed. Compared to the rates of mental disorders in both the normal population and in primary care practices, the rates found in this rheumatology clinic were higher. Conclusions: The PRIME-MD 1-page PHQ is not an adequate diagnostic test for FM. Because FM is primarily a somatization disorder that draws its symptoms from other current diseases, it may in fact be impossible to diagnose FM based on specific symptoms alone. However, the PRIME-MD 1-page PHQ proved to be a useful diagnostic tool in a rheumatology clinic. It helped to alert the physician to the possibility of an elevated frequency of mental disorders that would otherwise have gone unnoticed and untreated.

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Correspondence to A. S. Russell.

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CONFLICT OF INTEREST STATEMENT. Neither author has any conflict of interest in the above.

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Russell, A.S., Hui, B.K. The use of PRIME-MD questionnaire in a rheumatology clinic. Rheumatol Int 25, 292–295 (2005).

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