fibromyalgia syndrome

Fibromyalgia Is Common in Patients with Axial Spondyloarthritis

About 1 in 6 patients with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) meet research criteria for fibromyalgia (FM), according to a recent study. These individuals have significantly worse markers of disease activity and impact on physical and psychological health.

For their study, researchers selected 886 participants from the British Society for Rheumatology Biologics Register for Ankylosing Spondylitis who completed measures of disease activity and impact at recruitment and follow-up. Of these, 157 participants (17.7%) met research criteria for FM. Individuals who met FM criteria reported worse disease activity, function, and global scores, and considerably worse quality of life. They were also significantly more likely to have moderate/severe levels of anxiety, depression, and clinically important fatigue.

The researchers noted, however, that there was no difference in levels of C-reactive protein, extra-spinal manifestations of axSpA, or history of biologic therapy between individuals who did and did not meet FM research criteria.

“Developing management approaches that address the unmet needs of axSpA patients with co-morbid FM should be a current research priority,” the researchers concluded.

—Michael Potts


Macfarlane GJ, Barnish MS, Jones GT. - The co-occurrence of axial spondyloarthritis and fibromyalgia: results from a national register (BSRBR-AS) [presented at British Society for Rheumatology 2017].  April 27, 2017. Birmingham, United Kingdom. Abstract 104.