March 09, 2015
1 min read

More than half of patients with fibromyalgia may have comorbidities

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Patients with fibromyalgia were likely to have one or more comorbidities and use multiple medications, according to study findings from researchers at the Mayo Clinic.

Patient records from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, a database of health records from patients living in Olmstead County, Minn., were studied to identify patients with a confirmed diagnosis of fibromyalgia (FM). The researchers identified records from 1,111 patients 21 years and older with FM diagnosed between Jan. 1, 2001 and Dec. 31, 2009. Patients’ mean age was 59.4, and 93.7% were female. Mean disease duration was 11.1 years.

Ann Vincent

Medical records were screened to identify comorbidities present in the sample of patients. The researchers found comorbidities were common, and more than half had seven or more chronic conditions.

Chronic joint pain/degenerative arthritis was the most common comorbidity in 88.7% of patients, followed by migraines or chronic headaches in 62.4% of patients. Hyperlipidemia was seen in 51.3% of the patients, obesity in 48%, hypertension in 46.2% and type 2 diabetes in 17.9% of patients, resulting in 50.5% of all patients meeting criteria for metabolic syndrome.

Other physical conditions observed included irritable bowel syndrome (32.5%), plantar fasciitis (24.8%), temporomandibular joint disorder (17.4%) and chronic pelvic pain (15.3%).

Mental health disorders and sleep conditions were also common, according to the researchers. Depression was present in 75.1% of patients, and anxiety was seen in 56.5% of the patients with FM, 50.6% of whom had insomnia and 20.3% had restless leg syndrome.

The use of multiple medications to treat fibromyalgia and other conditions was also seen frequently in the patient group. Sleep aids were taken by 33.3% of the patients, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were prescribed to 28.7%, and opioids were prescribed to 22.4%. Other medications prescribed included serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (21%), alpha-2-delta ligands (19.4%), benzodiazepines (18.5%), tramadol (15.7%), and other antidepressants and muscle relaxers.

Combinations of medications taken together included sleep aids and SSRIs (11.7%), sleep aids and opioids (9.3%), and sleep aids and other psychiatric medications (9.1%). – by Shirley Pulawski

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.