Arthritis & Rheumatism, Volume 62,
November 2010 Abstract Supplement

Abstracts of the American College of
Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals
Annual Scientific Meeting
Atlanta, Georgia November 6-11, 2010.

National Fibromyalgia Association Survey on Children with Fibromyalgia: Preliminary Results.

Ali1,  Sanjida, Gleason2,  Rae Marie

Forest Research Institute, Jersey City, NJ
National Fibromyalgia Association


Juvenile fibromyalgia (FM) is a musculoskeletal pain condition that can impact the functional status and psychosocial development of children and adolescents. Currently, there is limited information on the prevalence of juvenile FM in the U.S. The National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA), in collaboration with Forest Research Institute, is conducting an internet survey to gather information on juvenile FM. One aim of the survey is to collect data that will help researchers and clinicians to better understand the nature and prevalence of FM in children. This report presents preliminary findings from the NFA survey.


The survey was completed by parents or guardians of children who have "fibromyalgia symptoms such as body-wide chronic pain, fatigue, stiffness, sleep problems, headache, irritable bowel and restless legs." For each child, respondents selected responses for the following items: age, gender, symptom severity, FM diagnosis, treatment information (ie, treating physician, medications, nonpharmacologic therapies), and lifestyle information. Responses from surveys submitted by parents or guardians of children (<18 years) from 12/05/2009 to 06/02/2010 were analyzed.


Completed surveys were submitted for 284 children with symptoms of juvenile FM, >85% of whom were from the U.S. Results show that 76.4% of the children were female and 23.2% were male (0.4%, no response). Mean age was 13.6 years, with 17.6% ages <=10 years, 33.5% ages 11–14 years, and 48.9% ages 15–17 years. 44.3% of the children were being treated by a healthcare professional, 26.4% by a rheumatologist and 10.6% by a primary care/family physician. 121 children (42.6%) had received a confirmed FM diagnosis; 60.3% were diagnosed by a rheumatologist and 23.1% by a primary care/family physician. Among children with a confirmed FM diagnosis, the most frequent symptoms (>90%) were widespread pain, pain influenced by stressors, fatigue, stiffness, sleep problems, headaches, foggy thinking, and anxiety. The frequency at which these symptoms were rated moderate or severe was 62.0% to 91.7%. Since developing FM symptoms, >50% of the diagnosed children had moderately or substantially decreased their involvement in strenuous physical activities or socializing with peers; 47.9% had changed schooling as a result of their FM symptoms. Current treatment with prescribed medications (i.e. serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, antiepileptic, tricyclic antidepressant, sedative-hypnotic, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, muscle relaxant, dopamine agonist) was reported in <=12.4% of diagnosed children. Rates of previous use of these medications ranged from 0% to 21.5%. Nonpharmacologic therapies were more common, with >30% of diagnosed children currently using hot baths, exercise, and/or supplements to manage FM symptoms.


Results from the NFA's internet survey suggest children with FM present with higher rates of many of the classical symptoms of FM than observed in adults with FM. Also, less than half of the children with symptoms suggestive of FM had received a confirmed diagnosis, suggesting a possibility of underdiagnosis of FM in the pediatric population.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Ali, Sanjida, Gleason, Rae Marie; National Fibromyalgia Association Survey on Children with Fibromyalgia: Preliminary Results. [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 2010;62 Suppl 10 :807
DOI: 10.1002/art.28575

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