Fibromyalgia treatment and research

- Dr. Mathew Devine, Associate Medical Director at Highland Family Medicine, discussed treatments for Fibromyalgia and a local research project to study the syndrome Thursday on News 8 at Sunrise.

Dr. Devine said Fibromyalgia is a syndrome characterized by widespread pain and fatigue.  He said it affect 2 to 5 percent of the adult U.S. population, or over six million Americans.  The majority of patients are between the ages of 35 to 60 years of age.  Fibromyalgia, for unknown reasons, affects women more than men.  There is a 7 to 1 female to male ratio among those  receiving treatment.

There are many treatment options, including the use of both prescription and non-prescription medication.  Dr. Devine said some treatments include accupuncture and exercise.  Because patients suffer from so many different symptoms, he said combination treatments can be particularly effective.  The multiple approaches can help relieve the varying symptoms.

The ongoing challenge of Fibromyalgia is that there are only hypotheses regarding the cause or etiology of the syndrome.  Therefore research is critically important to try to gain better understanding of Fibromyalgia.  Currently the best treatment options include restorative sleep, graduated paced exercise programs, supportive behavior therapy and use of medications and alternative modalities.

Dr. Devine said the Combat-FM Clinical Trial is a five year study funded by NIH/NIAMS involving two sites - the University of Rochester and the University of Washington.  It is a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, 8-week treatment period that has three and six month follow ups.  It also compares cognitive behavorial therapy versus health education.

If you think you are suffering from Fibromyalgia, or have a friend or family member that does, then you are encouraged to call the research line to determine if you are eligible to assist with the clinical trial.  The number is (585) 273-5199. 

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