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J Affect Disord. 2011 Feb;128(3):262-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2010.07.004. Epub 2010 Aug 1.

Fibromyalgia syndrome and depressive symptoms: comorbidity and clinical correlates.

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Mood and Anxiety Disorders Unit, Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin, Italy.



Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain and higher pain perception in specific anatomic sites called tender points. Fibromyalgia is frequently associated with psychiatric symptoms, like depression and anxiety; indeed some authors have argued about the possibility to classify this syndrome into affective spectrum disorder. Few studies have analyzed the impact of depressive symptoms on pain threshold. This research is aimed at evaluating the prevalence and the clinical correlates of depressive symptoms in fibromyalgic patients, and investigating their impact on pain perception and quality of life.


Outpatients between 18 and 75 years with diagnosis of fibromyalgia according to the criteria of the American College of Rheumatology have been included. All subjects have been evaluated with the following rating scales: HAM-D; VAS (to quantify pain); a visual analogical scale to evaluate quality of life; and Paykel's List of Recent Life Events.


Thirty subjects have been recruited. Most patients (83.3%) had clinically significant depressive symptoms as indicated by a HAM-D score >7. Depressive symptoms are associated with higher pain perception, worse quality of life and more severe life events.


The presence of depressive symptoms is associated with a great impairment in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome: indeed the psychiatric comorbidity lowers pain threshold and worsens the quality of life of our patients. Future studies should be conducted in order to identify the individual factors, e.g. stress or inflammatory processes, which drive the association between depression and higher severity of fibromyalgia syndrome.

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