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Fibromyalgia is a comorbid condition in patients with multiple sclerosis and is associated with increased fatigue and decreased quality of life. This association can be further potentiated by the existence of depression, disability, and anxiety.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating chronic immune-mediated condition that is associated with a marked prevalence of pain, which may include fibromyalgia. Single-center studies have reported the prevalence of fibromyalgia in MS patients. 

A new study investigated the frequency and characteristics of fibromyalgia in a Brazilian cohort of MS patients. The findings are published in the journal Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria.

Study Characteristics

The final study sample comprised 60 MS patients. The mean age of the patients was 40.4 ± 12.3 years. Approximately 75% of the cohort was female and 86.7% of the MS patients were Caucasian. The mean duration of the disease in the participants was 12.6 ± 8.7 years. The presence of fibromyalgia in the study cohort was estimated to be 11.7%.

Comparison of Patients With and Without Fibromyalgia

When comparing the clinical characteristics of MS patients with and without fibromyalgia, the authors noted significant differences across the two groups in depression and anxiety scores, fatigue index, and quality of life index.

Quality of Life and Fatigue Indices

The anxiety score and depression score had a significant correlation with the fatigue index and the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score and a weak correlation with fatigue index, whereas the quality of life index had a moderate correlation with EDSS score, a weak correlation with anxiety score, a moderate correlation with depression score, and a moderate correlation with fatigue index.

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Treatment-Related Differences in Patients With and Without Fibromyalgia

The two groups differed significantly on the basis of current or previous use of interferons for the treatment of MS. Other treatment measures were comparable across the two groups. These include the current use of interferons, the use of monoclonal antibodies, the use of acetate, and the use of oral medications.

Source:

Thomas, C., Schneider, B. T., Verza, C. S., Fassina, G. S., Weber, L., Moreira, M. C., Fusinato, P. T., & Forcelini, C. M. (2023b). Prevalence of fibromyalgia in a Brazilian series of patients with multiple sclerosis. Arquivos De Neuro-psiquiatria, 81(09), 803–808. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0043-1772673