Co-existence of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with fibromyalgia syndrome in the general population. A controlled study

OBJECTIVE: To determine the proportion of adults with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) in the general population who also meet the 1988 Centre for Disease Control (CDC) criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

METHODS: Seventy-four FMS cases were compared with 32 non-FMS controls with widespread pain and 23 with localized pain, all recruited in a general population survey.

RESULTS: Among females, 58.0% of fibromyalgia cases met the full criteria for CFS, compared to 26.1% and 12.5% of controls with widespread and localized pain, respectively (p=0.0006). Male percentages were 80.0, 22.2, and zero, respectively (p=0.003). Compared to those with FMS alone, those meeting the case definitions for both FMS and CFS reported a worse course, worse overall health, more dissatisfaction with health, more non-CFS symptoms, and greater disease impact. The number of total symptoms and non-CFS symptoms were the best predictors of co-morbid CFS.

CONCLUSIONS: There is significant clinical overlap between CFS and FMS.

White KP, Speechley M, Harth M, Ostbye T

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