Alternative medicine use in fibromyalgia (FM) syndrome

OBJECTIVE: To record the prevalence, extent, cost, and
satisfaction with use of alternative medicine practices by
patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), compared to control
rheumatology patients.

METHODS: An interviewer-based
questionnaire was administered to 221 consecutive rheumatology
patients and 80 FMS patients.

RESULTS: Alternative medicine
interventions were currently being used extensively by
rheumatology patients overall, and by FMS patients in
particular. All categories of alternative practices were used
more often by FMS patients, compared to controls, including
overall use 91% versus 63% (P = 0.0001), over-the-counter
products 70% versus 54% (NS), spiritual practices 48% versus
37% (NS), and alternative practitioners 26% versus 12% (P =
0.003), respectively. Two-thirds of patients using
alternative medicine practices were concurrently using
multiple interventions. Patient satisfaction ratings were
highest for spiritual interventions.

CONCLUSIONS: Alternative
medicine practices were currently being used by almost all
FMS patients. This observation might indicate that
traditional medical therapies are inadequate in providing
symptomatic relief to FMS patients.

Pioro-Boisset M, Esdaile JM, Fitzcharles MA

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