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Review IDs Certain Higher Mortality Risks for Patients With Fibromyalgia

Increased risk found for mortality from infections and suicide, while risk for mortality from cancer is reduced

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 14, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Patients with fibromyalgia have an increased risk for mortality, particularly from infections and suicide; however, they appear to have a lower risk for death due to cancer, according to a review published online July 10 in RMD Open.

Yulia Treister-Goltzman, M.D., M.P.H., and Roni Peleg, M.D., from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Clalit Health Services, both in Israel, conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the link between fibromyalgia and mortality. Eight papers that assessed associations between fibromyalgia and mortality and provided an effect measure quantifying the relationship were included in the systematic review. A total of 188,751 patients were included in the fibromyalgia group.

The researchers found that the hazard ratio for all-cause mortality was increased (hazard ratio, 1.27; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.04 to 1.51), but not for the subgroup diagnosed by the 1990 criteria. A borderline increased standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was seen for accidents (SMR, 1.95; 95 percent CI, 0.97 to 3.92), while the risks for mortality from infections and suicide were increased significantly (SMRs [95 percent CIs], 1.66 [1.15 to 2.38] and 3.37 [1.52 to 7.50], respectively). For cancer, the mortality rate was reduced (SMR, 0.82; 95 percent CI, 0.69 to 0.97). Significant heterogeneity was seen in the studies.

“Our review provides further proof that fibromyalgia patients should be taken seriously, with particular focus on screening for suicidal ideation, prevention of accidents, and prevention and treatment of infections,” the authors write.

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