ACR: Guidelines influencing fibromyalgia care

Tuesday, 17 Nov 2015

The management of people with fibromyalgia is moving away from traditional painkillers towards exercise, evidence shows.

Mary-Anne Fitzcharles from the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, QC, Canada presented her findings during an ACR session on Fibromyalgia: Insights into diagnostic criteria and symptom epidemiology.

The research team recruited 248 patients attending the Montreal university based tertiary care pain clinic from 2005 to 2013. Patients were stratified into two groups – 2005-2008 and 2009-2013 — depending on date of enrolment.

They discovered that the earlier group of patients used more analgesics (24.5% vs 15.8%; p=0.114) and NSAIDs (26.5% vs 17.8%, p=0.126) but less antiepileptics (27.9% vs 38.6%, p=0.097). Exercise activity was more prevalent among 2009-13 patients (23.8% vs 39.6%; p=0.011).

The 2009-13 group had lower disability rates (39.5% vs 18.8%; p=0.001), higher employment rates in manual and service areas (37.2% vs 16.3%) and lower rates in health care or educational areas (31.9% vs 58.1%) (p<0.001).

Despite similar pain durations at presentation and generally greater symptom severity, FM management has trended away from traditional analgesic medication use, the researchers said.

“Maintained function with more patients employed and participating in exercise activity reflects the evolving concept of FM care,” they added.

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