Sleep dysfunction in fibromyalgia and therapeutic options


  • Heather Mason
  • Univadis Medical News
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The risk of sleep disturbances needs to be proactively assessed and managed in patients with fibromyalgia, advises a paper published in OMB Neurology.

Approximately 90 per cent of patients with fibromyalgia experience sleep disturbance, with poor sleep quality, which is linked to symptom severity.

Author, Kim Lawson from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, writes that limiting sleep problems may reduce the incidence of fibromyalgia , and therefore need to be adequately managed to improve health outcomes. Current treatments focus on symptom-based management to improve quality of life but combined pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches are required. Therapeutic approaches with treatments that consolidate or deepen sleep may be preferential to improve sleep in patients with fibromyalgia, Dr Lawson said.

Randomised clinical trials have investigated the efficacy of antidepressants such as amitriptyline, gabapentinoids, sedative hypnotics, sodium oxybate and melatonin, each have shown varying efficacy.  

In a randomised controlled trial, cognitive behavioural therapies involving pain education and adaptive training techniques led to improvements in self-reported sleep, although no improvement was seen in objective sleep.

Application of therapeutic interventions more specific to fibromyalgia and the characteristic symptoms, including sleep disorder, may offer better effectiveness, according to Dr Lawson.