HealthDay News — Patients recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia often use opioids and have a decreased likelihood of receiving guideline-recommended medications, according to a study published in Pain Practice.

Rachel Halpern, PhD, MPH, from Optum in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and colleagues conducted a retrospective claims data analysis of adult commercial health plan members newly diagnosed with fibromyalgia (initial diagnosis = index date) from January 2008 to February 2012. Patients received pain medication within six months post-index.

The researchers found that the 96,175 patients (mean age, 47.3 years; 72.5% female) were prescribed medications in the following proportions: short-acting opioid (SAO), 57%; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), 22%; anti-epileptic drug (AED), 10%; serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), 6%; tricyclic antidepressant (TCA), 3%; and long-acting opioid (LAO), 2%. The most discontinuation and the least augmentation were seen in the SAO cohort. Patients with pre-index guideline-recommended medications were two to four times more likely to receive them post-index compared with those without pre-index recommended medications. Patients in the opioid cohorts were approximately half as likely to then receive guideline-recommended medications.

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“These real-world results indicate an opportunity may exist for improved FM management using recommended therapies in clinical practice,” conclude the authors.

The study was supported by Pfizer; several authors disclosed financial ties to the company.


  1. Halpern R et al. Pain Pract. 2015; doi:10.1111/papr.12364.