Based on an analysis of 49 different FM studies, researchers at the University of Missouri’s Psychology Department have determined that the best approach to treating FM is to combine the best of both the conventional and complementary worlds.
The meta-analysis compared the efficacy of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments of FM by compiling the outcome of 49 different studies. The results looked at physical status, self-report of FMS symptoms, psychological status and daily functioning; an adjustment was made to control for different study designs.
The cumulative results showed that taking pharmacological antidepressants showed significant improvement in physical status and on the self-report of FM symptoms.
All non-pharmacological treatments showed significant improvements; the only exception was that physically based treatment (primary exercise) did not result in improvement in the “daily functioning” category. However, exercise did show improvement in the other three categories: physical status, symptoms and psychological status.
When the pharmacological and non-pharmacological modalities were compared, results showed that the non-pharmacological treatment was more efficacious in improving self-report of FM symptoms that the pharmacological treatment alone.
The overall analysis led researchers to conclude that the optimal intervention for FM would include non-pharmacological treatments, specifically exercise and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), in addition to the appropriate pharmaceutical solutions for sleep and pain symptoms.
Source: Ann Behav Med 1999 Spring; 21 (2): 180-91. This article also published by Health Resource in the CFIDS & FM Health Resource Email Bulletin on October 5, 1999.