Over half of people with fibromyalgia may have an additional disorder, disease or condition

fibromyalgia comorbidity arthritis digestPeople with fibromyalgia are likely to have one or more comorbidities and use multiple medications, according to research from The Mayo Clinic published in BMJ Open. The findings highlight that it is vital that healthcare professionals check carefully what drugs they prescribe to people with fibromyalgia, any side effects they have and whether they can negatively interact with other medication the person is taking.
Records of 1,111 people with a confirmed diagnosis of fibromyalgia were identified. Their average age was 59 years, 93.7% were women and the average disease duration was 11 years.
The records were screened to identify comorbidities and the researchers found these were common. Over half of the study group had seven or more chronic conditions. Of the 1,111 people with fibromyalgia:

• 88.7% had chronic joint pain/degenerative arthritis
• 62.4% had migraines or chronic headaches
• 51.3% had high cholesterol
• 48% had obesity
• 46.2% had high blood pressure
• 17.9% had type 2 diabetes
• 32.5% had irritable bowel syndrome
• 24.8% had plantar fasciitis (a painful disorder affecting the heel and underside of the foot)
• 17.4% had temporomandibular joint disorder (problems affecting the jaw joint)
• 15.3% had chronic pelvic pain

Mental health disorders and sleep conditions were also common:
• 75.1% had depression
• 56.5% had anxiety
• 50.6% had insomnia
• 20.3% had restless leg syndrome

In terms of medication use:
• 33.3% took sleep aids
• 28.7% took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
• 22.4% took opioids
• 21% took serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
• 19.4% took alpha-2-delta ligands
• 18.5% took benzodiazepines
• 15.7% took tramadol and other antidepressants and muscle relaxers

The research team comments:
“Multiple chronic conditions and the use of multiple medications are highly prevalent in patients with fibromyalgia and pose a unique challenge to the management of this condition. Clinicians who care for patients with fibromyalgia should take into consideration the presence of multiple chronic conditions when recommending medications. Furthermore, properly addressing these multiple chronic conditions may mitigate the patient’s overall illness burden.”

Click here to read the original research.

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