The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently published “Treatment for Fibromyalgia in Adult Subgroups,” developed by its Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs).1 This systematic review of clinical trials investigated whether specific fibromyalgia patient subgroups would benefit from being treated differently from the general fibromyalgia patient population. All the studies included in the review examined individuals aged ≥18 and compared treatments for fibromyalgia in studies that reported outcomes of at least three months after treatment initiation.
According to the review authors, many clinical trials suggest a “modest benefit from treatments for a general population of fibromyalgia patients”2,3 but do not differentiate between subgroups. Understanding subgroup effects “might help to better inform clinical treatment decisions.”
The reviewers focused on two key questions:
- What are the efficacy and comparative effectiveness of treatments for fibromyalgia in each of these specific adult subpopulations?
- What are the harms of treatments for fibromyalgia in each of these specific adult subpopulations?
They analyzed studies available for the following subgroups: women;4-8 older9,10 or obese11 adults; individuals with coexisting mental health conditions;12-16 and those with high-severity,16-19 or longer (vs. shorter) fibromyalgia duration,20 multiple medical comorbidities,12,21,22 or other chronic pain conditions.3,12,13,15