Not reaching rheumatoid arthritis remission? Consider fibromyalgia too

rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, comorbidity, rheumatic disease, arthritis digest, rheumatoid arthritis remissionPeople with rheumatoid arthritis who do not reach remission may have fibromyalgia, experts suggest in Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology after looking at data over a 10-year period.

A total of 236 people with rheumatoid arthritis (average age 60 years and 87% female) were examined in 1999 and again 10 years later. Swollen joints and tender points were assessed, rheumatoid arthritis activity scores calculated and fibromyalgia status diagnosed. At the start of the study, 9% of people had fibromyalgia and this increased to 30% after 10 years.

People with both rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia were mostly female with higher tendon and swollen joint counts and disease activity scores at the start of the study. Those who had both rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia at the start of the study then had higher disease activity scores 10 years later.

“Rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia was associated with significantly higher levels of cross-sectional and longitudinal rheumatoid arthritis disease activity,” the experts conclude. “Fibromyalgia should be considered in patients with rheumatoid arthritis not reaching remission.”

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