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Review: some evidence supports pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments of fibromyalgia syndrome

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S Carville

Dr S Carville, King's College London, London, UK;


What is the research evidence for the effectiveness of treatments for fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS)?


Included studies used the American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for FMS. Studies of chronic fatigue syndrome and myalgic encephalomyelitis were excluded unless results were analysed separately for FMS. Outcomes were pain (visual analogue scale), function (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire), and withdrawals for adverse effects.


Medline, PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, PsycINFO, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and reference lists were searched for clinical trials. Studies could not be pooled; they were graded according to level of evidence—double-blind randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were the highest level. 146 clinical trials (59 on pharmacological treatments and 87 on non-pharmacological treatments) were included.


Non-pharmacological treatments. Heated pool treatment or balneotherapy, with (2 of 3 RCTs) and without (2 of 2 RCTs) exercise, was effective for pain and function. Evidence on aerobic exercise was …

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  • Source of funding: EULAR.