Management of fibromyalgia: Key messages from recent evidence-based guidelines

Winfried Häuser, Jacob Ablin, Serge Perrot, Mary-Ann Fitzcharles

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A PDF of the full version of the article, published in Polish Archives of Internal Medicine, can be accessed free of charge here.


Fibromyalgia (FM) is a prevalent and costly condition worldwide, affecting approximately 2% of the general population. Recent evidence- and consensus-based guidelines from Canada, Germany, Israel, and the European League Against Rheumatism aim to support physicians in achieving a comprehensive diagnostic workup of patients with chronic widespread (generalized) pain (CWP) and to assist patients and physicians in shared decision-making on treatment options.

Every patient with CWP requires, at the first medical evaluation, a complete history, medical examination, and some laboratory tests (complete blood count, measurement of C-reactive protein, serum calcium, creatine phosphokinase, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels) to screen for metabolic or inflammatory causes of CWP. Any additional laboratory or radiographic testing should depend on red flags suggesting some other medical condition. The diagnosis is based on the history of a typical cluster of symptoms (CWP, nonrestorative sleep, physical and/or mental fatigue) that cannot be sufficiently explained by another medical condition. Optimal management should begin with education of patients regarding the current knowledge of FM (including written materials). Management should be a graduated approach with the aim of improving health-related quality of life. The initial focus should ensure active participation of patients in applying healthy lifestyle practices. Aerobic and strengthening exercises should be the foundation of nonpharmacologic management. Cognitive behavioral therapies should be considered for those with mood disorder or inadequate coping strategies. Pharmacologic therapies may be considered for those with severe pain (duloxetine, pregabalin, tramadol) or sleep disturbance (amitriptyline, cyclobenzaprine, pregabalin). Multimodal programs should be considered for those with severe disability.

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