Lyme Disease Not Linked to Fibromyalgia

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A previous link between Lyme disease and fibromyalgia has been disproved by a new, long-term study.

Compared with the general population, there is no increased prevalence of fibromyalgia in patients with Lyme disease, reported Gary P. Wormser, MD, of the New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y., and colleagues.

Previous studies had suggested that patients with Lyme disease may have an increased risk of fibromyalgia. However, these studies were conducted prior to the use of two-tier serologic testing for Lyme disease, and thus may have included patients who did not actually have Lyme disease. Additionally, these studies did not follow up with patients over an extended period of time.

The current study included 100 patients with Lyme disease, confirmed by the recovery of Borrelia burgdorferi from culture. Each patient was evaluated for fibromyalgia 11 to 20 years after the onset of Lyme disease.

Out of all the patients, 87 underwent a tender point examination. For a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, a patient must have at least 11 tender points or a total symptom score of ≥12. Only one patient met the criteria for a fibromyalgia diagnosis. The researchers noted that the prevalence in the study is consistent with fibromyalgia prevalence in the general population.

Lyme disease
Lyme Disease Not Linked to Fibromyalgia

Lyme disease is not a trigger for fibromyalgia, according to a long-term assessment of patients with culture-confirmed Lyme disease.

The prevalence of fibromyalgia among patients with culture-confirmed Lyme disease who were followed at the Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center in Westchester County, N.Y., for up to 20 years was no greater than that in the general population, say investigators at New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y., led by Gary P. Wormser, MD.

Earlier studies that suggested that Lyme disease may trigger fibromyalgia were performed before the use of two-tier serologic testing for Lyme disease and therefore may have included patients who did not actually have Lyme disease, the investigators wrote online in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

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