New Canadian guidelines for treating fibromyalgia

May 6, 2013

Physicians from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and the University of Calgary have published a review article in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) to help family doctors diagnose and treat fibromyalgia. The article represents the first time researchers have published Canadian guidelines to help manage the condition.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that affects the causing pain throughout the body. It is often accompanied by fatigue, depression and sleep problems. It affects mostly women and their multiple symptoms often go years without a proper diagnosis and treatment.

"One million Canadians have fibromyalgia and the time has come to take their suffering seriously. This is a real condition that greatly impacts patients and their families. Finally there are national guidelines to help diagnose and treat this syndrome," says Dr. John Pereira, a study co-author from the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine and a physician at the Calgary Chronic Pain Centre.

Fibromyalgia is usually diagnosed by rheumatologists but due to the high prevalence of the disease many patients are not able to seek advice from a specialist. Therefore, are best positioned to take over this role, as recommended by the 2012 Canadian Fibromyalgia Guidelines. In the review, the authors provide evidence-based tools for primary care physicians to make the diagnosis and manage the condition long-term.

"We are the first ones to develop guidelines that look at diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of fibromyalgia," says Dr. Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, corresponding author from the Research Institute of the MUHC and MUHC's rheumatologist. "Currently, there is no cure for fibromyalgia but the guidelines set out the most appropriate management strategy."

Authors recommend non-pharmaceutical interventions such as exercise, , as well as medications tailored to the individual patient. The main treatment goal is to improve quality of life by alleviating the most troublesome symptom(s), with pain recognized as the most common and serious.

The authors also urge more research into the effects of early diagnosis and treatment as well as other treatment options. For more information on fibromyalgia, visit

Explore further: Fatigue not a factor in fibromyalgia pain, study says

More information:

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Ebola virus mutations may help it evade drug treatment

September 11, 2015

Genetic mutations called "escape variants" in the deadly Ebola virus appear to block the ability of antibody-based treatments to ward off infection, according to a team of U.S. Army scientists and collaborators. Their findings, ...

Study finds viral protein that causes dengue shock

September 9, 2015

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have identified a key culprit responsible for the fluid loss and resulting shock that are the hallmark of severe - and potentially fatal - dengue virus infections.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.