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Fibromyalgia Health Center

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A New Way of Diagnosing Fibromyalgia

Pain Index Plus Symptoms, Not Tender Points, Equals Fibromyalgia, New Study Says

Testing the New Diagnosis Criteria continued...

For years, many people were dismissed by doctors and told that their fibromyalgia was “all in their heads.” This attitude has changed in recent years as many in the medical community have begun to accept fibromyalgia as a real ailment, and new medications have been approved to treat its symptoms.

“The new criteria add more credibility to fibromyalgia because all types of doctors, not just rheumatologists, should find it easier to make the diagnosis,” Katz says.

“Now we can make the diagnosis and reassure people that this is a real thing and not in their head, and once you have the diagnosis, you can try lifestyle things, and there are treatment options,” he says.

Daniel J. Clauw, MD, a rheumatologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, helped develop the new criteria.

He points out that the older criteria were never intended to be diagnostic. “They were intended to be classification criteria to be used to standardize research into fibromyalgia, and they served that purpose very well, and will continue to be used by most researchers for this purpose,” he says.

That said, “the new criteria are intended to offer health care providers an alternative manner of diagnosing fibromyalgia that do not require a tender point count,” he says. “Many physicians do not know how to do a tender point count and thus are not presently comfortable diagnosing fibromyalgia because they think this is ‘necessary’ to make the diagnosis -- now there will be a clear alternative available."

The new study was funded by Lilly Research Laboratories, which manufactures the fibromyalgia drug Cymbalta. “No one at Lilly suggested the study in the first place, nor did they have a single thing to do with design, data collection, analysis, or publications,” Clauw tells WebMD.

Clauw has received consultant fees, speaking fees, and/or honoraria from Pfizer, Lilly, Forest, Cypress Biosciences, Pierre Fabre, UCB, and AstraZeneca.

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