Treatment of fatigue in fibromyalgia

Emma K. Guymer, Daniel J. Clauw

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Clearly fatigue is a large and challenging problem for those suffering from fibromyalgia. It adds greatly to the morbidity and disability associated with the disease. In the management of this specific symptom in fibromyalgia attention should first be focused on identifying comorbidities that may be present and contribute to fatigue. As with other symptoms of fibromyalgia education is a critical component of management. This can be done by the practitioner with available free resources or with specialized cognitive behavioral programs. This education process can be augmented with a variety of other nonpharmacologic therapies especially very gradually increasing low-impact aerobic exercise programs. Numerous pharmacologic therapies may also be helpful as an adjunct to treatment. Classes of compounds that raise central levels of norepinephrine or dopamine appear to be the most specific for management of fatigue. There are also many medications used to combat fatigue in other disorders that have not yet been adequately explored as to the possible benefits in alleviating the fatigue of fibromyalgia. Advances in the management of fatigue in fibromyalgia are likely to come from a variety of directions. Easier access to well designed nonpharmacologic therapies is essential because these treatments are underutilized in clinical practice at present. Improvements in pharmacologic therapies will come from new insights into mechanisms especially those that might only be present in subsets of patients and would respond to more targeted therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-378
Number of pages12
JournalRheumatic Disease Clinics of North America
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes

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