Fibromyalgia versus rheumatoid arthritis: a longitudinal comparison of the quality of life

J Rheumatol. 1995 Feb;22(2):270-4.


Objective: To evaluate and compare the quality of life of patients with fibromyalgia (FM) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods: Forty-four women with FM and 41 with RA were studied. There were 3 evaluations, with a 3-month interval. Besides special and general clinical examinations, the following tests were applied: pain numerical scale (PNS), Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), Arthritis Helplessness Index (AHI), Modified Post-Sleep Inventory (PSI), and questions about sleep disorders and socioeconomic impact.

Results: Results include the following: tender points (TP): FM = 13.9, RA = 2.9; PNS: FM = 7.2, RA = 6.8; HAQ: FM = 0.90, RA = 1.22; FIQ: FM = 47.2, RA = 42.5; AHI: FM = 32.7, RA = 31.8; sleep quality--mean duration of daily sleep: FM = 6.7 h, RA = 6.1; PSI scores: FM = 64.6, RA = 57.2. On questioning regarding economic impact, there was a decrease in family income for 65% of patients with FM and 75.1% for those with RA. Fifty-five percent of patients with FM and 66.6% of those with RA received social security aid. At followup evaluation, there was a statistically significant improvement in the following items for the patients with FM: TP count, HAQ, and AHI. The patients with RA improved in number of TP and AHI.

Conclusion: FM has a negative impact on quality of life, similar to RA. Clinical, functional, and economic problems related to the disease were observed. The alteration observed remained relatively stable during the study period, except for physical disability.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / physiopathology*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sleep
  • Surveys and Questionnaires