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J Rheumatol. 1997 Aug;24(8):1615-21.

Fibromyalgia--are there different mechanisms in the processing of pain? A double blind crossover comparison of analgesic drugs.

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Department of Anaesthesiology, University Hospital, Linköping, Sweden.



Pain was analyzed in patients with fibromyalgia (FM) in a randomized, double blind, crossover study using intravenous (i.v.) administration of different drugs.


In 18 patients with FM muscle pain to i.v. administration of morphine (0.3 mg/kg), lidocaine (5 mg/kg), ketamine (0.3 mg/kg), or saline was studied. Spontaneous pain intensity, muscle strength, static muscle endurance, pressure pain threshold, and pain tolerance at tender points and non-tender point areas were followed. Drug plasma concentrations and effects on physical functioning ability score (FIQ) were recorded. A personality inventory (KSP) was used to related pain response to personality traits.


Thirteen patients responded to one or several of the drugs, but not to placebo. Two patients were placebo responders responding to all 4 infusions. Three were nonresponders responding to no infusions. Seven of the responders had a reduction in pain for 1-5 days. Pressure pain threshold and pain tolerance increased significantly in responders. Plasma concentrations were similar in responders and nonresponders. FIQ values improved significantly after the ketamine infusion. Responders scored higher on KSP scales for somatic anxiety, muscular tension, and psychasthenia compared with healthy controls.


FM diagnosed according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria seems to include patients with different pain processing mechanisms. A pharmacological pain analysis with subdivision into responders and nonresponders might be considered before instituting therapeutic interventions or research.

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