The psychiatrist confronted with a fibromyalgia patient

Siegfried Kasper
Human Psychopharmacology 2009, 24 Suppl 1: S25-30
Fibromyalgia is usually treated by rheumatologists but since co-morbid depression and anxiety are frequent, psychiatrists are likely to be confronted with patients suffering from the syndrome. The symptoms associated with fibromyalgia vary from patient to patient but there is one common symptom-they ache all over. In addition to pain, patients report headaches, poor sleep, fatigue, depressed mood and irregular bowel habits, which are also all symptoms of depression. For a formal diagnosis of fibromyalgia, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria require the patient to have widespread pain for at least 3 months together with tenderness at 11 or more of 18 specific tender points.Treatment of fibromyalgia requires a comprehensive approach involving education, aerobic exercise and cognitive behavioural therapy in addition to pharmacotherapy. The most effective drugs available for the treatment for fibromyalgia, the serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors, milnacipran and duloxetine and the anti-epileptic, pregabalin, are well known to psychiatrists. Thus the psychiatrist is well placed to initiate treatment in these patients.


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