Objectives: A recent meta-analysis concluded that multicomponent treatments are effective for some fibromyalgia (FM) symptoms. The objective of this study was to examine whether a psychoeducational intervention implemented in primary care is more effective than usual care for improving the functional status of patients with FM.
Methods: This study was based on a randomized controlled trial. The 484 patients with FM included in a database of the Viladecans Hospital (Barcelona, Spain) were eligible for screening. Finally, 108 patients were randomly assigned to the intervention and 108 patients were assigned to usual care. The intervention comprised nine 2-hour sessions (5 sessions of education and 4 sessions of autogenic relaxation). The patients were assessed before and after the intervention with a battery of instruments (measuring sociodemographic data, medical comorbidities, functional status, trait anxiety, and social desirability).
Results: The posttreatment drop-out rate was 9.7% (intervention: 6.5%; control: 13%). The intention-to-treat analyses showed significant differences between the groups at posttreatment: the intervention group improved in physical impairment, days not feeling well, pain, general fatigue, morning fatigue, stiffness, anxiety, and depression (medium effect size in most cases). The patients who responded to the intervention reported less trait anxiety at baseline than nonresponders. The absolute risk reduction with the intervention was 36.1% (95% confidence interval: 23.3-48.8) and the number needed to treat was 3 (95% confidence interval: 2.0-4.3).
Discussion: A 2-month psychoeducational intervention improves the functional status of FM patients to a greater extent than usual care, at least in the short-term. The social desirability bias did not explain the reported outcomes. Trait anxiety was associated with response to treatment.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00550966.