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The prevalence & clinical impact of fibromyalgia (FM) in systemic lupus erythematosus

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OBJECTIVE. To ascertain the prevalence of fibromyalgia syndrome

(FMS) in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and to evaluate

its clinical impact and relationship to SLE disease activity.

METHODS. A cross-sectional analysis of 102 patients from a

public hospital SLE clinic. Information was obtained on

symptoms of FMS, disability, tender points, pain thresholds,

and SLE disease activity.

RESULTS. Twenty-two SLE patients

(22%) met the American College of Rheumatology criteria for

FMS, and another 24 (23%) had clinical FMS but did not meet

the classification criteria. The patients who met the criteria

for FMS had a significantly increased frequency and severity

of symptoms commonly associated with FMS, and were much more

likely to be unable to perform daily activities. The FMS

patients also were less likely to be employed, and more likely

to be divorced and to be receiving welfare or medical

disability benefits. However, patients with and those without

FMS did not differ in measures of SLE activity.

CONCLUSION. FMS is very common in SLE patients, and

accounts for many of the symptoms and much of the disability

in these patients.

Middleton GD, McFarlin JE, Lipsky PE

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