Reports From National Arthritis Meeting
Dr. Shiel Gives Perspectives Of Interest On Fibromyalgia From
Below are perspectives on key reports presented at the recent national meeting of the American College of Rheumatology:
Fibromyalgia (formerly known as fibrositis) is a chronic condition that causes pain, stiffness, and tenderness of the muscles, tendons, and joints. Fibromyalgia is also characterized by restless sleep, awakening feeling tired, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and disturbances in bowel function. While fibromyalgia is one of the most common diseases affecting the muscles, its cause is currently unknown. The painful tissues involved are not accompanied by tissue inflammation. Therefore, despite potentially disabling body pain, patients with fibromyalgia do not develop body damage or deformity. Fibromyalgia also does not cause damage to internal body organs. Therefore, fibromyalgia is different from many other rheumatic conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, and polymyositis). In those diseases, tissue inflammation is the major cause of pain, stiffness, and tenderness of the joints, tendons, and muscles, and leads to joint deformity and damage to the internal organs or muscles. Since the symptoms of fibromyalgia are diverse and vary among patients, treatment programs must be individualized. Treatment programs are most effective when they combine patient education, stress reduction, regular exercise, and medications. Recent studies have verified that the best outcome for each patient results from a combination of approaches that involves the patient in customization of the treatment plan.
At this meeting, Prozac (fluoxetine) was demonstrated to be effective in
relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia in a study from the University of
Cincinnati Medical Center. It seemed to significantly help the pain, fatigue as
well as associated depression. Patients studied were all female and were 18
years of age or older.
Ulracet was effective and well tolerated in relieving the pain symptoms of
fibromyalgia. 313 patients were studied and 94% were female.
Fibromyalgia patients were reported to have lower than average DHEA levels.
Muscle strengthening exercises over one year
maintained significant symptom improvements as compared with flexibility
For more, please see MedicineNet.com' s Fibromyalgia article.
Last Editorial Review: 12/28/2004