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Patterns of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment, treatment satisfaction and perceived tolerability in patients with fibromyalgia: a patients’ survey

1, 2, 3, 4, 5


  1. Instituto de Neurociencias, Universidad de Granada, Spain.
  2. Departamento de Fisioterapia, Escuela de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Granada, Spain.
  3. Instituto de Neurociencias, Universidad de Granada, Spain.
  4. Departamento de Psicología, Universidad de Almería, Spain.
  5. Instituto de Neurociencias, Universidad de Granada, Spain.

2020 Vol.38, N°1 ,Suppl.123
PI 0072, PF 0078
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PMID: 32116211 [PubMed]

Received: 27/11/2019
Accepted : 07/02/2020
In Press: 10/02/2020
Published: 21/02/2020


To evaluate the patterns of treatment among patients with fibromyalgia (FM) in Spain and to assess patient satisfaction and perceived tolerability of the treatment received.
An observational, cross-sectional study was conducted in Spain via internet from September 2015 to March 2017. We recorded sociodemographic and clinical information, including treatment satisfaction evaluated using a 10-point numerical rating scale (NRS) and adverse events.
Evaluable subjects (n=915) were predominantly middle-aged, married women who presented with moderate to severe pain, sleep disturbance and affected quality-of-life. The most frequent non-pharmacologic treatments were physical exercise (85%), diet (47%), supplements such as magnesium and vitamins (47%), and psychotherapy (31%). The most frequently prescribed drugs were tramadol (40%), benzodiazepines (30%), duloxetine (22%), pregabalin (19%), amitriptyline (17%) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; 16%); 7.5% of patients received stronger opioids. After excluding benzodiazepines, NSAIDs, and paracetamol, 46% of patients received ≥2 drugs. Satisfaction with treatment (NRS mean score) was generally poor for pharmacologic treatment (4.1), exercise (4.7), psychotherapy (5.2), diet (5.0), physiotherapy (6.2) and acupuncture (6.3). The increase in the number of drugs prescribed was not associated with an increase in satisfaction, but rather with an increase in adverse events.
Patients with FM in Spain are overtreated with a combination of non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic therapies. Several of these therapies lack adequate support from randomised clinical trials and/or clinical practice guidelines. This overtreatment is not associated with relevant clinical benefits or patient satisfaction and, in the case of pharmacologic treatments, poses tolerability and safety issues.

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