This review summarizes the present and emerging knowledge base on the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management of fibromyalgia.
Epidemiology: Fibromyalgia is the most common chronic pain syndrome encountered in general medicine and rheumatology. Historically, contemporary concepts of fibromyalgia have evolved in terms of its clinical description and parallel advances in the understanding of its pathophysiology.
Pathophysiology: A generally accepted paradigm postulates that fibromyalgia is the clinical expression of a rheumatologic disorder in which the associated pain is driven primarily by central sensitization and possibly through changes in several neuronal systems but not necessarily reliant on peripheral processes.
Management: Several agents, including serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (ie, duloxetine and milnacipran), opioids (ie, tramadol), and the alpha2-delta ligand pregabalin, which recently received U.S. regulatory approval for the treatment of fibromyalgia, have been evaluated in clinical trials, demonstrating benefit in terms of pain reduction and improvement in core symptoms (ie, fatigue and sleep disturbance). The European League Against Rheumatism has developed updated guidelines for the management of fibromyalgia.