The effect of novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) on fibromyalgia syndrome

Fausto Salaffi, Valeria Giorgi, Silvia Sirotti, Sara Bongiovanni, Sonia Farah, Laura Bazzichi, Daniela Marotto, Fabiola Atzeni, Maurizio Rizzi, Alberto Batticciotto, Giovanni Lombardi, Massimo Galli, Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FM) is a complex disease that is mainly characterised by chronic widespread pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances and may be precipitated or worsened by many stressors. The aim of this study was to observe the behaviour of FM symptoms during the course of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

METHODS: Patients who had been diagnosed as having FM for ≥3 months were recruited between February and May 2020. The collected data were age, sex, educational level and marital status; height and weight; and the scores of the revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR), the modified Fibromyalgia Assessment Status 2019 (FASmod), and the Polysymptomatic Distress Scale (PDS). The patients were divided into those with or without concomitant COVID-19 infection.

RESULTS: Eight hundred and ninety-seven (93%) of the 965 patients (881 women [91.3%] and 84 men [8.7%]) were followed up on an outpatient basis because of FM and 68 (7.0%) were either followed up as out-patients or hospitalised because of COVID-19. There was no difference in the sociodemographic data of the two groups, but there were statistically significant between-group differences in the results of the clinimetric tests. The major differences between the score of the items (those with the greatest disease impact) were the following related symptoms: sleep quality (FIQR15), fatigue/energy (FIQR13), pain (FIQR12), stiffness (FIQR14).

CONCLUSIONS: The mean total and subdomain scores of all the tests were significantly higher in the patients with COVID-19, which suggests that global FM symptoms are more severe in patients with infection. Further studies of the post-COVID19 patients are being carried out in order to discover whether the worsened symptomatology continues because of their hypersensitised state.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Nov 16 2020

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