The aim of this cross-sectional study is to determine the prevalence of opioid use in a large sample of fibromyalgia (FM) patients and examine the factors associated with opioid prescription/use despite multiple clinical guidelines that do not recommend opioid use in this population.
Data were collected from a convenience sample of 698 patients admitted from August 2017 to May 2019 into an intensive 2-day Fibromyalgia Treatment Program at a tertiary medical center in the United States after FM diagnosis. Patients were administered the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire–Revised, the Center for Epidemiologic Study of Depression Scale, and the Pain Catastrophizing Scale upon admission to the program. Demographic information and opioid use were self-reported. Logistic regression analysis was utilized to determine associations between patient-related variables and opioid use in this prospective study.
Of 698 patients, 27.1% (n = 189) were taking opioids at intake. Extended duration of symptoms (>3 years), increased age, higher degree of functional impairment, and increased pain catastrophizing were significantly associated with opioid use.
Opioids are not recommended for the treatment of FM under current guidelines. Greater burden of illness appeared to be associated with the prescription and use of opioids in this population. These findings suggest that some providers may not be aware of current recommendations that have been found to be effective in the management of FM that are contained in guidelines. Alternative approaches to the management of FM that do not involve opioids are reviewed in an effort to improve care.