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Comorbid fibromyalgia: A qualitative review of prevalence and importance

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Fibromyalgia (FM) may be an unrecognized cause of suffering for persons with an array of medical conditions. This is especially true for illness that is characterized by pain of any nature.

Once believed to be a unique diagnosis, FM is recently reported to occur concomitantly with various rheumatic diseases, and importantly adversely impacts global health status. However, there is increasing report of FM associated with other diseases that are not defined by chronic pain.

This qualitative review examines the evidence for comorbid FM in illness, and where available the effect of FM on the primary disease. Other than for musculoskeletal disorders, the published literature reporting an association of FM with illness is limited with scanty reports for some neurological, gastrointestinal, mental health and other overlapping pain conditions.

Comorbid FM adversely affects both health status and outcome for rheumatic diseases, but with limited study in other diseases. When unrecognized, comorbid FM may be mistaken as poor control of the primary disease, leading to incorrect treatment decisions.

FM may be a neglected condition that pervades many conditions and may contribute to the burden of illness. Physicians should be alert to the possibility of comorbid FM, and symptoms of FM should be specifically addressed.


Comorbid fibromyalgia (FM) in other medical conditions is largely unrecognized. When reported as accompanying rheumatic diseases, FM adversely affects global health status. With limited reports of comorbid FM with other conditions, neglect to diagnose comorbid FM may misdirect treatments.

Full text available here.

Source:  Fitzcharles MA, Perrot S, Häuser W. Comorbid fibromyalgia:  A qualitative review of prevalence and importance.  Eur J Pain. 2018 Oct;22(9):1565-1576. doi: 10.1002/ejp.1252. Epub 2018 Jun 22.


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