Fibromyalgia (FM) versus rheumatoid arthritis: a longitudinal comparison of the quality of life

OBJECTIVE. To evaluate and compare the quality of life of
patients with fibromyalgia (FM) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

METHODS. Forty-four women with FM and 41 with RA were studied.
There were 3 evaluations, with a 3-month interval. Besides
special and general clinical examinations, the following tests
were applied: pain numerical scale (PNS), Health Assessment
Questionnaire (HAQ), Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ),
Arthritis Helplessness Index (AHI), Modified Post-Sleep
Inventory (PSI), and questions about sleep disorders and
socioeconomic impact.

RESULTS. Results include the following:
tender points (TP): FM = 13.9, RA = 2.9; PNS: FM = 7.2, RA =
6.8; HAQ: FM = 0.90, RA = 1.22; FIQ: FM = 47.2, RA = 42.5;
AHI: FM = 32.7, RA = 31.8; sleep quality–mean duration of
daily sleep: FM = 6.7 h, RA = 6.1; PSI scores: FM = 64.6, RA =
57.2. On questioning regarding economic impact, there was a
decrease in family income for 65% of patients with FM and
75.1% for those with RA. Fifty-five percent of patients with
FM and 66.6% of those with RA received social security aid. At
followup evaluation, there was a statistically significant
improvement in the following items for the patients with FM:
TP count, HAQ, and AHI. The patients with RA improved in
number of TP and AHI.

CONCLUSION. FM has a negative impact on
quality of life, similar to RA. Clinical, functional, and
economic problems related to the disease were observed. The
alteration observed remained relatively stable during the
study period, except for physical disability.

Martinez JE, Ferraz MB, Sato EI, Atra E

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