Efficacy of multicomponent treatment in fibromyalgia syndrome: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials

Arthritis Rheum. 2009 Feb 15;61(2):216-24. doi: 10.1002/art.24276.


Objective: To systematically review the efficacy of multicomponent treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS).

Methods: We screened Medline, PsychINFO, Scopus, and the Cochrane Library (through December 2007), as well as reference sections of original studies, reviews, and evidence-based guidelines. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the multicomponent treatment (at least 1 educational or other psychological therapy with at least 1 exercise therapy) of FMS were analyzed.

Results: We included 9 (of 14) RCTs with 1,119 subjects (median treatment time 24 hours) in the meta-analysis. Effects were summarized using standardized mean differences (SMDs) or weighted mean differences (WMDs). There was strong evidence that multicomponent treatment reduces pain (SMD -0.37; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] -0.62, -0.13), fatigue (WMD -0.85; 95% CI -1.50, -0.20), depressive symptoms (SMD -0.67; 95% CI -1.08, -0.26), and limitations to health-related quality of life (HRQOL) (SMD -0.59; 95% CI -0.90, -0.27) and improves self-efficacy pain (SMD 0.54; 95% CI 0.26, 0.82) and physical fitness (SMD 0.30; 95% CI 0.02, 0.57) at posttreatment. There was no evidence of its efficacy on pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, depressive symptoms, HRQOL, or self-efficacy pain in the long term. There was strong evidence that positive effects on physical fitness (SMD 0.30; 95% CI 0.09, 0.51) can be maintained in the long term (median followup 7 months).

Conclusions: There is strong evidence that multicomponent treatment has beneficial short-term effects on the key symptoms of FMS. Strategies to maintain the benefits of multicomponent treatment in the long term need to be developed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome