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Ann Behav Med. 1999 Spring;21(2):180-91.

A meta-analysis of fibromyalgia treatment interventions.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211, USA.



To evaluate and compare the efficacy of pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatments of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS).


This meta-analysis of 49 fibromyalgia treatment outcome studies assessed the efficacy of pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatment across four types of outcome measures-physical status, self-report of FMS symptoms, psychological status, and daily functioning.


After controlling for study design, antidepressants resulted in improvements on physical status and self-report of FMS symptoms. All nonpharmacological treatments were associated with significant improvements in all four categories of outcome measures with the exception that physically-based treatment (primarily exercise) did not significantly improve daily functioning. When compared, nonpharmacological treatment appears to be more efficacious in improving self-report of FMS symptoms than pharmacological treatment alone. A similar trend was suggested for functional measures.


The optimal intervention for FMS would include nonpharmacological treatments, specifically exercise and cognitive-behavioral therapy, in addition to appropriate medication management as needed for sleep and pain symptoms.

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