Fibromyalgia and PsA: Is There a Connection?

Fibromyalgia and PsA: Is There a Connection?

A new study causing a buzz this month explores the connection between psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and fibromyalgia. The study was a cross-sectional study that took place between September 2014 and April 2015, and it demonstrated that individuals with certain rheumatic diseases, such as PsA or connective tissue diseases, tend to have higher rates of fibromyalgia as well. The study included 691 individuals that had a variety of rheumatic conditions. The conditions were organized into three groups: rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis (PsA was in this category), and connective tissue conditions (such as scleroderma and myositis). There were 451 women and 240 men, and the mean age was 55.8 years-old, with a median condition duration of 11 years.

Fibromyalgia study details

All patients were evaluated for the prevalence of fibromyalgia concomitant with their rheumatic condition and the diagnoses were divided into two groups: those who were diagnosed by a physician who specializes in treatment of fibromyalgia, and those who were diagnosed by the American College of Rheumatology’s 1990 guidelines for diagnosing fibromyalgia (ACR-90). For the 97 individuals in the physician diagnosed group, 7.7% came from the RA group, 17.5% came from the spondyloarthritis group (the PsA group), and 28.2% came from the connective tissue disease group. A similar trend was found for those diagnosed by the ACR-90 formula. A total of 55 individuals were in this group, and it was made up of 7.7% of those with RA, 11.1% from the spondyloarthritis group, and 11.3 from the connective tissue condition group.

The results

It was apparent that the ACR-90 contributed to fewer of the diagnoses of fibromyalgia than those from a specialized physician; however, for both groups, the authors concluded, “concomitant fibromyalgia is prevalent in inflammatory rheumatic disease, especially in spondyloarthritis and connective tissue disease.” Other studies have supported these results, such as one performed in 2013 and published in Arthritis that demonstrated specifically that those with PsA had a much higher chance of also developing fibromyalgia than their healthy counterparts, regardless of the diagnostic method.

While it may come as no surprise to hear about more studies indicating a link between fibromyalgia and rheumatic conditions, it does further enforce the idea that those with PsA could benefit from screening for fibromyalgia as they continue to develop their treatment plans!

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